Boys of summer

Youth baseball season starts in Durango

Cole Alexus throws toward first base during the Skills Day on March 31 at the La Plata County Fairground playing fields. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Cole Alexus throws toward first base during the Skills Day on March 31 at the La Plata County Fairground playing fields.

So return the stifled giggles in the crowd as a little one’s head drops between his knees to watch the ball rolling through his stance, and the sight of children’s chests puffed with pride after they hear for the first time the cracking sound of the bat meeting the ball.

Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado, a private nonprofit organization that supports teams for about 400 children in the Durango area, kicked off the season with a Skills Day on March 31 at the playing fields at La Plata County Fairgrounds.

For some, it’s a sign of spring – and maybe even a symbol of who we are as a nation.

“I think baseball is the American pastime,” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of the organization. “I think baseball is something everyone believes in.”

For him and likely others in the community, the first day of the season says: “It’s baseball and apple pie time.” Teams in the league are formed based on age groups, starting with Tee Ball for ages 5 to 6. Machine-pitched games are played for 7- and 8- year-olds, and child-pitched games start with the 9- and 10-year-old divisions.

For many local children of all ages, the experience each year is “a big deal,” Roskowinski said. There’s usually some entertainment for the crowd, as well.

At the end of the day, though, it’s all about fun, Roskowinski said.

“Our goal is (to ensure) that every kid plays and every kid has an enjoyable experience,” he said.

And, of course, “it’s our job to have them run in the right direction,” he said.

Shaun Stanley

Seven- and 8-year-olds line up on the field during the Skills Day at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. The boys showed off their baseball chops and waited to be selected for teams. From left are: Tommy Pope, Clay Poitras, Jacob Papi, Matthew Pane, Kale Palmer, Zachary Ottman, Levi Otten and Wesley O’Brien. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Seven- and 8-year-olds line up on the field during the Skills Day at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. The boys showed off their baseball chops and waited to be selected for teams. From left are: Tommy Pope, Clay Poitras, Jacob Papi, Matthew Pane, Kale Palmer, Zachary Ottman, Levi Otten and Wesley O’Brien.

All for one and one for all is the spirit that draws the team members of 7- and 8-year-old division Rockies team together at the end of practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

All for one and one for all is the spirit that draws the team members of 7- and 8-year-old division Rockies team together at the end of practice at the Riverview Sports Complex.

Scott Smith, head coach for the 7- and 8-year-old divison team the Rays, part of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado, explains fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Scott Smith, head coach for the 7- and 8-year-old divison team the Rays, part of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado, explains fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex.

Practicing the basics. Scott Smith, head coach for the 7 and 8 year old divison team the Rays instructs new players on fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Practicing the basics. Scott Smith, head coach for the 7 and 8 year old divison team the Rays instructs new players on fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex.

With maybe a little apprehension, players in the 7- and 8-year-old division line up for batting during the Skills Day March 31 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. From leeft, Matthew Pane, Kale Palmer, Zachery Ottman and Levi Otten. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

With maybe a little apprehension, players in the 7- and 8-year-old division line up for batting during the Skills Day March 31 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds. From leeft, Matthew Pane, Kale Palmer, Zachery Ottman and Levi Otten.

“It’s baseball and apple pie time” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

“It’s baseball and apple pie time” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado.

TC Rockwell tries his hardest to impress the coaches during the Skills Day on March 31 at the La Plata County Fairground. Rockwell was selected to play for the 7- and 8-year-old divison team the Rockies. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

TC Rockwell tries his hardest to impress the coaches during the Skills Day on March 31 at the La Plata County Fairground. Rockwell was selected to play for the 7- and 8-year-old divison team the Rockies.

A player team Rays casts a long shadow while practicing fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. “Every kid plays” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

A player team Rays casts a long shadow while practicing fielding techniques during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. “Every kid plays” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado.

Randy Baker, assistant coach for the 7- and 8-year-old divison Rays team, shows how to properly hold a bat during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. “It’s all about skill building” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Randy Baker, assistant coach for the 7- and 8-year-old divison Rays team, shows how to properly hold a bat during the team’s practice at the Riverview Sports Complex. “It’s all about skill building” said Richard “Roskow” Roskowinski, director of Youth Baseball of Southwestern Colorado.

Coach Steve Davidovich makes sure Tommy Brindle stayrs hydrated during practice. Enlarge photo

SHAUN STANLEY/Durango Herald

Coach Steve Davidovich makes sure Tommy Brindle stayrs hydrated during practice.

Comments » Read and share your thoughts on this story