by nathan oster
Baseball is once again en vogue in Greybull and Basin.
The two south Big Horn County towns will field a total of 11 Little League teams this year as more than 100 kids between the ages of 4 and 12 have signed up to play, up from around 80 last year.
Practices began Monday for the three upper level teams, two of which will be centered in Greybull and managed by Todd Zeller and Ken Wright, while the third will practice in Basin and be led by Kristen Schlattmann.
The four T-ball and four coach-pitch teams will start later, likely around May 1.
The 100 kids who have registered represent another high-water mark for youth baseball.
Three years ago, only about 30 kids played.
Wright, one of the organizers of the baseball program, said its success is a direct result of the support it has received from local businesses, many of whom were also supporters in the league’s inaugural season.
Laird Sanitation, Hunt Construction, Security State Bank and Davie’s Machine Shop are sponsoring the four T-ball teams, which are for kids ages 4 to 6.
The four coach-pitch teams, primarily for kids ages 7 and 8, will be sponsored by Greybull Motel, E&M Heating, A&W, and Big Horn Rural Electric.
Big Horn Federal and Greybull Building Center are sponsoring two of the three upper level teams. A sponsor for the third team is still needed.
Wright said the T-ball and coach-pitch teams will likely play through the end of May.
The upper level teams will play a longer season. As of Monday, the schedules had not been set. Wright expected it to happen on Tuesday. The tentative plan is for the three Greybull-Basin teams in the 9 to 12 year-old age group to play games in April and May against each other and teams from Otto, Lovell and possibly Worland. At the conclusion of the local season, the league will form one majors team and one minors team to compete at district tournaments in June.
While schedules have yet to be finalized for any of the teams, Wright is certain of one thing: Opening Day ceremonies will be held Saturday, May 16, with every team in the league in action on the Greybull fields.
One new feature this year is a batting cage, which was recently completed, thanks to donations of materials and equipment from two Basin businesses, Big Horn REA and TCT. The net itself wasn’t new, but the poles were. Wright said the cage and a pitching machine that is on its way are nice additions to the program.