For the first time in more than 70, Newberry Little League will not be chartering a league this upcoming baseball season. Little League International informed Williamsport Area Little League President Ronnie Diemer of the change on Tuesday.
With the change, all of the Newberry territory will be divided between South Williamsport and Williamsport Area Little Leagues. Everything on the north side of the river will become WALL territory, and everything on the south side from Duboistown and Nesbit will now go to South Williamsport Little League.
As a former Newberry player himself growing up, Diemer expressed frustration in the loss of a historical area Little League but looked to the positives and opportunity this now provides for the Williamsport Area Little League scene.
“This provides us the opportunity to offer our experience and our version of the Little League experience in Williamsport. It gives us the opportunity to continue somewhat of the Newberry Little League history in this town.”
While members of the Williamsport Little League Board have already been urgently pushing Williamsport City Council to fix up the Brandon Park fields sooner rather than later, this new expansion of Williamsport Area Little League creates even more of an urgency to get those fields up and running to the state in which they were in the past.
“This increases our registration numbers. So, with more kids, more teams, we’re going to need more play and were already strapped in at Old Lycoming with games and practices. Our coaches are already strapped in to find practice spaces on their own” Diemer said.
“This might be this first time since the beginning to only have one LL team in the Williamsport area. That’s one of the most important things. It will make our drive to have the city fix them,” he added.
Looking ahead, if Newberry Little League were to make a return in the future, all of their territory would be returned to them. The stipulation being all kids currently enrolled in Williamsport Area Little League, or South Williamsport will be eligible to remain at their current leagues.
Diemer referenced yet again the need for playable baseball at Brandon Park to give those kids who can’t regularly make it to Old Lycoming for practices and games.
Williamsport Area Little League is currently open for registration at www.williamsportlittleleague.com.
Additionally, every Wednesday Williamsport is hosting WALL winter workouts until February 20. They have rented four batting cages at the Liberty Arena from 6-8 p.m. for Free batting cages work, and free coach instruction. In person registration is also available there.