Players on parade

Members of the Oswego Little League program march in the Oswego Little League Day parade on Saturday.

OSWEGO — Play ball!

Those words are common in the game of baseball, but they mean much more to Oswego Little League when you consider the rapid growth it has gone through over the years.

Oswego Little League Day was celebrated with a five-kilometer run, a ceremony, a parade, and slew of games on Saturday at the Fort Ontario Baseball Complex.

“This is all about the kids,” Oswego Little League president Tim Kirwan said.

The big climb in numbers for the league, in Kirwan’s words, has been “incredible” for the 28 teams they’re fielding this season. The league has gone from 275 total players during the 2016 campaign, to 380 for 2019. The totals in 2017 and 2018 were roughly 320 and 340, respectively.

“Little League is thriving in Oswego,” Kirwan said. “The growth here is remarkable, and doesn’t happen without our volunteers and commitment from our parents and these kids.”

Kirwan praised the players and parents for putting their effort into Oswego Little League.

“It’s a time for families and friends. It’s a learning process for these kids as well,” he said.

Oswego Little League’s fields have gone through a bit of an update for this season. There’s also a new sound system and cordless microphones at Lagoe Field.

Kirwan also mentioned new scoreboards would be put in at each field.

The league added a brand-new T-Ball field as well, and offers a chance to play T-Ball for free.

“The good thing about that field is that kids aren’t going on to a field that’s 200-250 feet,” Kirwan said. “Hopefully the kids will enjoy it. They won’t have to fight for field time on other fields.”

With everything Oswego Little League brings to the table, Kirwan emphasized it wouldn’t be possible without Mayor Billy Barlow, Tom Kells (director of public works), and the city of Oswego.

“It’s truly a collaborative effort,” Kirwan said. “Without the city, we don’t have this.”

Barlow rolled out his thanks for what the community has done to make Oswego Little League what it is today.

“I just want to thank everybody who puts Little League together in this area, from Mr. Kirwan, to the board of directors, to all of the sponsors — and all of the parents encouraging their kids to play,” he said.

That encouragement isn’t one-sided, Barlow added, as kids find interest in Little League.

“It’s the kids willing to play,” he said. “They come outside to enjoy the weather and get some physical activity.”

“Little League is America’s sport,” Kirwan said.

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