By Hannah Marrero (JMU Class of 2017)
How do the Harrisonburg Little League Association and the Harrisonburg community team up to finance their love of the game?
It’s not easy to pitch a perfect game. However, a little teamwork and a lot of dedication can make anything possible.
That is exactly how the Harrisonburg Little League Association and the Harrisonburg community team up to fund the local children’s love of baseball and softball.
In 2015, roughly $60,932 was needed to fund all 28 of the Harrisonburg Little League teams. This money goes toward uniforms, supplies, league support, umpires, and funding for team members whose families can’t afford the registration fees.
By: Carrie Holland (JMU Class of 17')
There’s a first time for everything. Especially baseball for Christmas.
Including Little League at Christmas.
After almost a year of brainstorming and preparation, Harrisonburg Little League Association takes their place in the city’s annual Holiday parade taking place in downtown Harrisonburg Dec. 2, Friday at 7:00 p.m.
The time for a Little League Christmas has come.
By Bri Sayasithsena (JMU Class of 16)
What does it mean to be a coach for 13 years? Coach Mike Engle knows. Coach Engle and I met to talk about some of his most memorable moments as a coach. An endearing and committed part of the team, Coach Engle reminded me that being a coach is more than wins and losses—what matters most are the children.
After moving to Harrisonburg for his junior year of college at Eastern Mennonite University, Coach Engle has remained for the past 32 years. During that time, he did some coaching for his church team and softball leagues for adults. He engaged in some construction work for about ten years, then moved into computer work. For the past 13 years, he has been an active volunteer for the Harrisonburg Little League Association. He has three children, all of whom have played for the Little League.
He started when his older son played t-ball and moved through the leagues with him. Currently, he is coaching the team his younger son Josh plays for. And now, it has been 13 years since he started coaching children at HLLA.
Interviewed by Alex Khalifeh (JMU Class of 18)
Written by J. B. Gochenour (Lecturer at JMU)
Crystal Taylor, vice president of Harrisonburg Little League Association, has a very special title. For many, she’s Harrisonburg’s “baseball lady.”
A longtime Harrisonburg Little League parent and volunteer, Taylor has spent the last decade working with a team of league supporters that help keep Harrisonburg Little League Association’s season on the calendar and players returning to the field.
“I started volunteering 10 years ago as a team mom and working at our big events and have been on the board for 8 years and Vice President for 6 years,” Taylor said.
HLLA relies on volunteers like Taylor and her co-workers who donate untold hours staffing games, sorting through and filling out paperwork, keeping team records, holding fund-raisers, selling refreshments, and keeping HLLA running smoothly behind the scenes.
“I cannot say enough about how much she actually does for HLLA," said Dean Warlitner, HLLA president. "All the behind the scenes stuff that no one sees. If we listed everything she does, it will be very long and detailed.”
By Riley Smith (JMU Class of 16)
Harrisonburg Little League Association has been around since 2000, the same year that current Coach Will Zampini moved to Harrisonburg. Zampini has coached and volunteered for HLLA for the past 5 years, starting in t-ball then working his way up to farm league, and now he is currently coaching in the minors. Zampini is only 29 years old, but he has had a ton of baseball experience, starting off right here with HLLA.
“It was always so much fun playing in HLLA and playing with your friends. And when you got to all-stars, you got to travel with other guys and play in different places. When we were in junior league, we actually won the state championship and that banner is the only one up on the clubhouse till this day,” said Zampini.
Zampini’s baseball success did not stop in HLLA. After he finished senior league in HLLA, he played 4 years at Harrisonburg High School before playing college baseball at Baltimore Community College. He pitched for one year at BCCC before having to come back home to Harrisonburg.
“I had some shoulder issues, I was going to go back. But, then, I really started to have some problems with my shoulder,” said Zampini.
Zampini needed surgery on his rotator cuff before he could even think about pitching again. Unfortunately, the injury ended his baseball career.
Since Zampini could no longer play the game, he decided to volunteer for HLLA as a coach. Dean Warlitner, HLLA president, welcomed him back with open arms.
“Dean coached while I played. He was the coach of the Phillies at that time and I was on the Giants. He will still say until this day that we never beat them. But, I know we did. I’ve known Dean since I was 12 or 13 years old,” said Zampini.
Zampini just could not stay away from the game.
HLLA Story is an official blog site of the Harrisonburg Little League Association. All contents are managed by the Bluestone Communications, a student-run public relations agency at James Madison University. Please contact Kevin Leaven (firstname.lastname@example.org), an account executive of the Bluestone Communications., if you have any questions about the blog or the stories.