By Harry Smith
Special to the Gazette
This spring’s wet weather failed to put a damper on the 42nd edition of the JP Regan Youth League, a season marked by close pennant races, exciting championship games, and great memories and friendships. Thanks to the generosity of dozens of local sponsors, 800 local boys and girls on 55 teams had the chance to play more than 300 baseball and softball games on fields across Jamaica Plain.
The season featured close races in almost every division, with the championships going right down to the wire. In the Softball division, regular season leader Strategy Matters defeated a scrappy Fire Opal club for the AA championship, while in the tightly contested AAA division, a surging Arborway Auto team defeated Purple Cactus for the championship.
The baseball Farm division experienced a three-way first place tie between Mt. Washington Bank, Maple Hurst Builders and SuperFlash T-Shirts, who will share bragging rights and the trophy during the off-season. In the Junior division, Klein Hornig LLC pulled out a well-deserved victory over defending champs JP Auto Body. In Seniors, Morrison’s Auto-Rite and City Feed and Supply squared off in a thrilling best-of-three series that ended with Morrison’s winning two one-run games to defend their championship. In the Pony Division, the powerful Faulkner Hospital Royals defeated the surprising Hyde Square Task Force Orioles to win the crown. In the A softball and Teeball divisions, more than 150 youngsters played spirited games every Saturday throughout the season.
The season culminated with the Annual Picnic on June 25, which included all-star games, food, award presentations and raffle prizes. Matt Gore and Katherine Chaurette were awarded the Jamie Winshall Awards as the baseball and softball coaches who demonstrated the highest principles of sportsmanship over the course of the season. Pedro Ortiz of the Trinidad & Tobago Club was awarded the Ed Dolan Player Sportsmanship award. The Maple Hurst Builders team sold more than 1,500 raffle tickets and were awarded with tickets for the whole team to an upcoming Boston Red Sox game. Thanks to the hard work of Bill Perkins and his assistants, the picnic was a green event, with more than 97 percent of all trash being either recycled or composted.
Following the spring season, the league sent several teams to the Mayor’s Cup baseball and softball tournaments against teams from around the City. The U12 Girls softball team won the Mayor’s Cup championship against East Boston, while the U9 Baseball team made it to the semifinals.
Currently, there are two teams of JP players competing in the 2011 Summer City-Wide Baseball League, hoping to defend the championship won by last year’s JP representatives. The JP Regan Youth League is also running the Al McCourt Summer Pony and The Show baseball leagues for boys and girls ages 13-18, thanks to sponsorships from Mt. Washington Bank, Jackson Square Partners and Meliam Travels Multiservice and funding from the City of Boston Boston ROCKS! program and the JP Community Benefits Trust Fund.
The writer is the president of the JP Regan Youth League.