Little League gears up for season and new T-ball field

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published April 19, 2013

 Spring is in the air and Harper Woods Little Leaguers will take over the fields at Johnston Park for Opening Day April 27.

Spring is in the air and Harper Woods Little Leaguers will take over the fields at Johnston Park for Opening Day April 27.

Photo by April Lehmbeck

HARPER WOODS — As the sun starts gracing more days and buds make their debut on the trees, the sights and sounds of spring have arrived, and nothing heralds the coming balmy, spring days like a field full of Little Leaguers.

It’s that time of year again, with the opening day parade and first games slated for April 27.

The excitement over the launch of Little League season is even bigger this year, as the league gets ready to build a major addition to their diamonds at Johnston Park — a T-ball field.

Harper Woods Little League reportedly serves about 300 children, ages 4-18, and dates back more than 55 years. 

The new addition will take about a week to complete once the weather gets warm enough.

“The diamond, for sure, will be ready for opening day for T-ball,” Harper Woods Little League President Tony Talerico said.

T-ball opening day is in early June.

The League chose the empty space adjacent to Harper Woods High School’s south wall, which is the location of the high school’s pool. It’s not a large spot, but T-ball fields are smaller than regular baseball fields and do not need an outfield fence.

The idea formed after seeing how children would play Wiffle ball on that patch of field. That’s when they thought, “That’s where our T-ball area should go,” Talerico said.

He walked the area and realized that it would work. 

“It will be kind of cool with the backdrop, especially that big, brick wall there,” Talerico said. 

The Little League didn’t have the authority to just construct a field at that site, which is school property, but when they asked for permission, the Harper Woods Board of Education was supportive of the plan.

Talerico said he is pleased with how much the school board supported the league.

“We went to the School Board with our ideas and they were all for it,” league Vice President Mark Di Mambro said. “This project could not have been done without the great help of the school board and the entire high school.”

The new field will be a benefit to the players and parents because the T-ball players have been playing at one of the elementary schools since they lost some fields when the new secondary school was built several years ago. The setup has kept the new families apart from the action at Johnston. Having those families in another area of the city affected concession stand revenue and parent volunteerism and participation, according to the Little League.

Now, new parents can be part of the action at Johnston Park.

The new field’s price tag is about $10,000, but most of that was paid for through funds raised through the Bob Comfort Memorial Golf Outing. The league is hoping to get some grant money, as well, but is going forward with the construction and not waiting to see if they get the funding first.

The League is doing something fun when it comes to naming the field, too.

They are hosting a fundraiser raffle to name the field for 2013. The name will be drawn during the April 27 opening day festivities. Every year, they plan to host an opportunity to name the field. Some may choose to submit their family name or perhaps a name in memory of someone special. 

“A plaque will be put on the backstop with each year’s name,” Di Mambro said.

The annual Little League parade will start at 11 a.m. April 27 and go from Beacon Elementary down Beaconsfield to Johnston Park. The first pitch will be thrown at 1 p.m.

The League is planning another Bob Comfort Memorial Golf Outing in early June.

For more information, visit the league’s website at