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High Schoolers Are a Hit With Young Ballplayers

Alex Stickley gazed intently at the Staples High School players as they took the field during Friday's game against New Canaan. "I've never seen high schoolers play,'' said Alex, an 8-year-old second-grader at Coleytown Elementary School in Weston. "There sure is a lot of action."

Alex, who plays for the Knicks in the Westport Little League, was among about 40 young ballplayers on hand for Little League day as Staples played New Canaan. The youngsters greeted the Staples players before the game, some served as bat boys during the game, and they ran the bases afterward. "It's been fun being part of this,'' Alex said.

The Westport Little League has always had a tight connection with the Staples baseball program. Many of the Staples players came up through the Little League ranks. Unlike many other towns that have opening day ceremonies, Westport's program is too large to accommodate all the players and their parents in one space. The players also march in the town's Memorial Day parade.

Stickley pulled for Staples to win Friday's game. "They're going to win,'' he said. "Sometimes, the team I'm rooting for doesn't always win. But I think they're going to do it." His instincts proved incorrect, as the Rams rallied for an 8-7 victory.

The disappointment didn't linger for the youngsters. They enjoyed hot dogs, chased foul balls and ran the bases with enthusiasm afterward. Many played their first games the following day. The day ushered in a new Little League season, and after a long, snowy winter, the players were thrilled to be back on the fields.

Is your young ballplayer enthusiastic about the new season? Start the discussion below!

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