To Little League President, game means more than just competing

Hunner Doty prepares for a pitch at home base on Tuesday afternoon. The White Pine Little League Association is currently halfway through their regular season. (Garrett Estrada photo)

Hunner Doty prepares for a pitch at home base on Tuesday afternoon. The White Pine Little League Association is currently halfway through their regular season.
(Garrett Estrada photo)

In the humid air of Tuesday afternoon, parents, siblings and other members of the community gathered together on the cold, aluminum bleachers with their eyes all trained on the spectacle in front of them. A swing and a hit would erupt the audience into cheers. Parents took pictures. Little brothers and sisters of the athletes would shift uncomfortably around in their seat before venturing off to find the concession stand.

The annual tradition of Little League baseball is back in full-swing, already at the half-way point into its short regular season. But with seven games left to go for the 22 teams involved in the league this year, local Little League President Court Hall is thinking about bigger things than who will win or lose.

“I think that the number one thing that Little League baseball does or tries to do is instill values in the kids. Values like sportsmanship, working as a team whether your winning or losing, handling personal success and also personal failures,” Hall said.

He should know too. Hall has been working with Little League for close to a decade and locals involved in the sport know his passion and dedication to both the game and its participants is second to none.

But as the old saying goes, “If you aren’t growing, you’re dying.” Hall knows this and is already trying to plan ways for White Pine Little League to take the next step in its growth, forming a travel team.

“If we could get enough kids together for a travel team, that would be great for us and would really be the next step for a lot of these kids,” the president said.

But it is easier said than done. Even with Nevada’s renewed interest in Little League after watching a Las Vegas team make it to the US Little League World Series, Hall said that finding the amount of kids to participate in a travel team has been difficult.

“We had about half the number of kids we needed for a traveling team sign up this year. To make it happen, we need at least 12 kids, plus parents who can take them to and from each game,” he said.

But a travel team isn’t the only avenue for growth. Another way to keep kids involved would be to keep them playing in the years between aging out of the 11-12 year old division and going out for Baseball at White Pine High School.

“Right now we have a league for everyone from 4-year-olds in tee ball to the regular Little League, or what they now call Major League, at 11 to 12-years-old. But there is still room to add a junior and senior league that would encompass 13 to 16-year-olds. That way they could make the jump from the smaller field to the full 90 foot one,” Hall said.

The in-between leagues would offer a useful transition period that would help kids get adjusted to playing on the larger fields, Hall said, and it has been something he has been “pushing for” each year. While its not something that has been set up yet, Hall sees it as another opportunity to keep the lessons of the game relevant to growing kids, while also helping support the White Pine High School baseball program with more prepared athletes coming in.

But for now the future will have to wait because there is still another half of  the season left to play and soon both players and coaches will be voting on their choices for the 10-11 and 11-12 year-old all-star teams.

But until those are announced in the middle of June, Hall said that as long as the game is being played, it’s doing good.

“There are a lot of life lessons to learn during your time in Little League.”