MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE ALBANY, Ga. -- Children's laughter and the cracks of baseballs hitting bats fill the air. Encouraging voices come from the viewing stands. Coaches, who want their players to do well, yell out advice. This is baseball, America's favorite pastime.
The YMCA Youth Baseball League season opened April 23 and will continue to June 9. Many of the Marine Base's families' children are involved in this program, said Staff Sgt. Jerry Cordoba Jr., who helped to organize the teams.
About 55 players participate in the league from MCLB Albany, Cordoba said. The base has four teams and each team has up to 14 players. The ages range from 4-6 to 9-12.
Marine Corps Community Services, along with the YMCA, support the base's involvement in the baseball league, said Cordoba.
"I have three boys and there wasn't many youth baseball programs for kids," said Cordoba. Cordoba and his wife, Debbie, organized MCLB Albany's youth baseball season.
Mrs. Cordoba passed out flyers asking for participation, said Cordoba. To gain enough participation, she walked door-to-door and asked children to play baseball.
"A lot of these kids have not played in organized sports," said Cordoba.
"I enjoy it. I am going to be the next Sammy Sosa," said Alexander Gray, a Rockies player. The Rockies, who are the base coach pitch team, which includes children ages 7 to 8, played here Tuesday evening. In coach pitch baseball the coach pitches the ball to the hitter. Fundamentals of baseball are taught and there is no emphasis on winning.
"It (having games on base) is more convenient. It (the league) gives the kids a chance to do something rather than being bored," said Rebecca Esquibel, mother of two Rockies.
"There is a wealth of talent out there," said 1st Lt. Lionel B. Blackman, coach of the Rockies. "It is my first time coaching any sports. When you see a child progress from running to throwing the ball, that's rewarding."
"I think it's important to let the children work together in a team," Blackman added.
"I think it's good for the kids 'teaching them the fundamentals of baseball," said Sgt. Shannon N. Holman, who helps coach the Rockies. "It is important taking them out here and letting them have fun."
The coaches hope the positive response to the league, means it will continue to grow and be successful.
"I hope MCCS can keep this going every year. We need their support," said Sgt. Michael J. Maschmeier, who helps coach the Rockies.
For the next few weeks, the children of MCLB Albany will continue to play baseball. Players will knock balls into the field. Children will scramble for the ball and get an 'out.' Teamwork and sportsmanship will continue, and the community will have fun together.