Falls Church locals who want to go out to witness a regular season baseball finale need not look any further than the Falls Church Kiwanis Little League.
Well, it’s actually many finales — 24 spread across 10 fields featuring 550 area boys and girls — so those interested will have their pick of games to watch.
A single-elimination tournament for the four older divisions will begin on June 2 and end June 12 with “Championship Saturday,” when participants will receive awards and trophies, and graduating Little Leaguers will be recognized before they start high school where many will continue ball. Some will become umpires.
The League president, Kirsten Fatzinger, and the League’s communications chief, Erika Toman, spoke by phone and chatted online with the News-Press about their pride and joy.
The spring season has been the largest in several years:
“Kids and parents are happy to be playing ball!” the two said. “The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. For many players, this is the first activity they’ve been able to participate in for more than a year.”
When it comes to Covid-19, the League follows local, state, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines.
Players and volunteers answer questions online before every event where mandates of social distancing and masks (“whenever possible”) are in place.
To maintain separation outside dugouts, players have designated seating areas while they wait to bat, and spectators spread out on the bleachers.
Each of the 49 teams has a “Covid coach” to help everybody stay in line.
The league will adhere to “official guidance as we determine what, if any, protocols will be necessary” for the fall season, since there will be no summer ball.
All children who register for Little League (scholarships are available) play ball. Assessments are made at the beginning of the season for placement, and the League has a Challenger Division for children with physical and intellectual limitations.
The Washington Nationals outfit the teams and in “normal times,” the Nats provide tickets for every player to a major league game. They even sponsor player visits and coaching clinics at Nats Park.
In Falls Church, the season requires more than 200 coaches, schedulers, equipment and uniform managers, umpires, fundraisers and many more volunteers to get the ball rolling and keep it going.
As a volunteer, Toman said “My favorite thing is watching the kids grow and evolve throughout the season.”
While coaches stand back and listen, players take turns leading “the post-game huddle. The players recognize the good things players do during the game,” which, Toman said, may not “always be the great plays [which they recognize] but those players who are injured and still come to practice and come to the games.”
The Kiwanis league is the oldest Little League in Virginia, founded in 1948.
For game schedules and more information, go to the league’s website.