Roatan Youth Baseball Enters Playoff Round
At press time playoffs were set to get underway in the five-team School of Life (SOL) baseball league for 9-12-year-olds on Roatan. A league champion was expected to be crowned in mid-July.
The league is funded by donations and by registration fees and concessions from the SOL adult co-ed slow-pitch league, which finished its season in March.
The Early Birds finished the regular season June 15 with a league-best 5-1 record and will sit out the first round of the playoffs, together with West End (7-3) and the Lil’ Pirates (5-5). The Cubs of Horsepen (Sandy Bay), who finished 3-7, were to face Hottest Sparrow (1-5) in a best-of-three series beginning June 22, with the winner to face the Early Birds in the semifinals. Lil’ Pirates will face West End in the other semifinal series. The two second-round winners will face off in a three-game championship series beginning in mid-July.
The Early Birds and Hottest Sparrow played fewer games because they entered the league after the season had already started. Youth from Hottest Sparrow had been getting together for pick-up games for the last two years under the direction of Scott and Shirley Williams of Turtling Bay.
Mark Flanagan, program director for SOL International Foundation and coach of the Cubs, said he hoped to bring some teams from the mainland to play a tournament against the Roatan players later in the summer.
Youth baseball is a centerpiece of SOL’s efforts to develop nations “one child at a time.” The idea is to provide island youth a constructive outlet for their energies while teaching them about teamwork, sportsmanship and character.
In a recent interview with the Voice, Roatan Mayor Julio Galindo praised SOL’s and other island youth sports programs for helping to reduce juvenile delinquency and drug use on the island.
“You have an American gentleman down there in West End that is just doing a fantastic job with the youth and baseball,” Galindo said, we assume refering to Flanagan and/or SOL co-founder Dave Elmore. “I think that has helped tremendously.”
SOL youth baseball games are played on the John J. Wood “Field of Dreams” behind the gas station outside West End, usually on Saturday evenings.