More than 400 boys and girls marched from Watertown Square to Casey Park for the Watertown Youth Baseball and Softball celebration Saturday morning.
The season is a few weeks old, but that did not stop the youngsters from enjoying the festivities.
New Watertown Police Chief Michael Lawn threw out the first pitch. He said he missed his time on the diamond, both as a player and a coach.
“I played for the Cubs at Bemis (Park) and I live in just over the border Waverley, and was heavily involved in the league over there,” Lawn said. “My sons are in high school now, so I stopped a couple years ago. Those were the best days of my life. I miss it.”
Lawn encouraged parents to get involved and volunteer to help a team.
New Watertown Youth Baseball President Bill Furtado thanked all the coaches.
“As I look over the sea of colors, the 400 boys and girls of all ages, all levels, representing 38 teams, ready to have fun and play ball,” Furtado said. “All the coaches volunteer significant time with your children – their spare time. Not a lot of people have time these days and these people donate their time.”
Furtado also paid tribute to man who devoted a huge amount of time to the children of Watertown – Bob Galante – who recently passed away at the age of 39. Galante’s family attended the event and Furtado thanked them. Galante coached Pop Warner football, worked at the Lowell School and ran the Recreation Department’s Pequosette summer program.
“(Bob) lead a life of service to the kids of this community,” Furtado said. “He lead a life for the betterment of our children. Thank you Bob for showing our kids the right path in life.”
After the ceremonies, Casey Field was filled with players. Games were played all day, but before that the tee ballers got some tips from coaches, including Eddie Murray, a District 10 Little League Representative who runs workshops.
He got the children, 4 and 5 year olds, excited to play some ball by showing them some stretches, and them teaching them some of the basics.
Murray asked the players which their favorite team was, and one boy said, “The Bats,” which was his tee ball team.
“Did you hear what he said? The Bats!” Murray said. “That’s right. Forget the Red Sox. Forget the Yankees. Your team should be your favorite team!”