By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Youth Ball Players Open The Season
Placeholder Image
Laughing and joking, holding their banners high, uniformed young ballplayers of the Riverbank youth baseball and softball leagues paraded through downtown Riverbank on Saturday morning to celebrate the opening of the season.

Following tradition, several hundred young players accompanied by coaches and parents followed a police car and fire truck from the Riverbank Community Center southward on Eighth Street to Castleberg Park.

Despite the early morning chill, residents turned out along the road to watch the youngsters enter on their spring ritual and march to the ball field accompanied by baby carriages, dogs and parents still clutching coffee cups.

With the colorful crowd assembled around the diamond, this year's president of the Riverbank Youth Baseball Softball League, Ken Schuurman announced the names of each team and coach, awarded some prizes for fund raising and then invited Riverbank City Council members Dave White and his grandson Jesse James White to throw out the first ball - or two.

The pitch thrown high and slow by the older White landed square in the catcher's glove. The younger man threw faster and lower, the catcher failed to get his glove to the ball and it hit the backstop with a thud that will be heard many times this season.

"Let's play ball," said Schuurman in the time-honored invitation, before the crowd dispersed to play the opening games of the season.

The RYBSA has 32 teams this year, about the average, comprising more than 300 boys and girls. Teams will play most weekday evenings and weekends on the two diamonds at Castleberg Park and on the association's own ball field on California Avenue well into summer.

Riverbank teams will also play some games in Empire and Waterford by arrangement with the leagues from those communities.

Ages of the players range from four years in the T-ball division up to 18 in the Pony division.

Other officers besides Schuurman include vice president Craig Solario, secretary Gina Macias, treasurer Karin Beliera and director of softball Dave Allen. The director of baseball position is still open.

The league is inviting parents with items such as cleats, gloves and bats that their children have outgrown or no longer use to donate them so other players can be fully equipped. Contact the Association by e-mail at