By Harry Smith, Special to the Gazette
The 43rd season of the Jamaica Plain Regan Youth League has come to a close with another successful year of close pennant races, thrilling championship games, and friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. The league continued to reflect the diversity of the neighborhood, with 800 boys and girls playing more than 300 games on fields across Jamaica Plain.
This season featured spirited races in every division, with the championships, played the week of June 25, going right down to the wire. In the Softball division, a surging Southern Jamaica Plain Health Center team beat regular season leader Fire Opal for the AA championship, while in the tightly contested AAA division, The Pet Cabaret won a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Strategy Matters for the championship.
In the baseball Farm division, the race came right down to the end with Mt. Washington Bank taking first place and Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation finishing a close second. In the Junior division, Boston Building Resources made a valiant run through the playoffs before falling in the championships to a strong Bella Luna club. In Seniors, City Feed and Supply defeated Haley House Café in a best of three series, while in the Pony Division, the Hyde Square Task Force Orioles knocked off regular season leader Faulkner Hospital Royals 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 30, which included all-star games, food, award presentations and raffle prizes. Kevin Murray of Morrison’s Auto-Rite and Emily Patrick of Fire Opal received the Jamie Winshall Awards as the baseball and softball coaches who demonstrated the highest principles of sportsmanship over the course of the season. Joe Ridley of JP Auto Body was awarded the Ed Dolan Player Sportsmanship award. The players from Parkside Remodeling sold the most raffle tickets and were rewarded with tickets for the team to an upcoming Boston Red Sox game. Thanks to the work of Bill Perkins and his assistants, the picnic was a green event, with more than 95 percent of all trash recycled or composted.
Following the spring season, the league sent several teams to the Mayors Cup baseball and softball tournaments to represent the neighborhood against teams from around the city. The U15 Girls softball team won the Mayors Cup championship on July 15, while the U12 Girls finished second in the city on July 8. The U9 Baseball team had a great run and made it to the semifinals. There is now a team of JP players competing in the 2012 U12 Summer City-Wide Baseball League.
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, City Feed and Supply, Urban Edge and Extra Space Storage and funding from the city’s Boston ROCKS! program.
Registration for the 2013 spring season will be held in March, 2013. For more information about the JP Regan Youth League visit reganyouthleague.org.
The writer is the president of the Jamaica Plain Regan Youth League.