The oldest little league charter in the county celebrated another Opening Day with a parade and plenty of festivities. The Burnside Southwestern Little League kicked off their 2006 season with a parade through downtown Burnside, which ended at Cole Park baseball fields.

The league had plenty to celebrate on this particular day as the league player participation was up 50 percent from last year and state representative Tommy Turner was on hand to announce that Cole Park would receive a state grant of $50,000 this summer for upgrade and improvements. Turner, also, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to open the season.

“The little league experience is the best memories in most anyone’s life and I am proud to be a part of this event today,” Turner said. “I have coached little league, I have watched my kids play in little league and now I am getting to watch my grandchildren play little league. I am just happy that I could help give back something to the Burnside community and the great organization of little league.”

League president Les Grant was extremely pleased with this year’s turnout and bragged how the first night of games went on Friday night.

“We had such a great turnout last night in our doubleheader,” Grant said with boyish enthusiasm. “We used our new PA system and played music between innings and had kids dancing between innings, which everyone got a kick out of.”

“Then to top it all off, Addison Corder hit a grand slam homer on the main field,” Grant added. “Everybody had a great time.”

Burnside Mayor Dean Lovins attributed Saturday’s large turnout to the hard work and effort put in by the parents and coaches.

“This is a big day for Burnside and a big day for the Burnside Little league,” Lovins said. “I congratulate all the players and their parents for making this such a good event and great league.”

The league gave away prizes from fundraising raffles, had cotton candy, snow cones and league Tee-shirts. Each team was introduced on the field and exhibition games were played throughout the day.

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