Shrewsbury Little League marks Opening Day with parade through Dean Park

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Shrewsbury Little League marks Opening Day with parade through Dean Park
Little League players step on the field. (Photo/Evan Walsh)

SHREWSBURY – Baseball and softball are back, and Little League ballplayers couldn’t be happier.

On April 26, ballplayers returned to the field to celebrate Opening Day, parading with their teammates throughout Dean Park. After an early spring full of rain and snow, the park’s main field was back in business: The grass was freshly cut, the foul lines were pristine, and the basepaths were recently raked.

“We’ve been doing [the parade] for a few years now, and I think we’ve found the right recipe for it. Not to say that we always repeat – we always tweak things to make it better – but I think we’ve pulled together a good, solid event to start the season,” Shrewsbury Little League President Michael DiPiazza said.

Starting at the upper softball fields, Little League players walked down to the parking lot, into the outfield, and lined up around the infield. Players – some toting gloves and balls – held signs to represent their team’s sponsor, and danced along to the likes of Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off” and John Fogerty’s “Centerfield.”

Though the Shrewsbury Little League organized the event, it took the whole community to pull it off. The Shrewsbury Police Department and Shrewsbury Fire Department helped facilitate the parade, Duke’s Collectibles enticed eager collectors, Smiles Four Balloons provided decorations, and Creedon & Co., Inc. employees distributed food to event attendees.

“I remember playing Little League and I remember the parade. I remember the excitement of all of that. I think we’re trying to recreate what we all remember at Little League from when we were kids. I’d say I certainly remember certain games or certain situations, but I definitely remember the parade and Opening Day – just the excitement of all of it. We hope that these kids remember that. We hope it makes them excited for the season, and I really feel like the community as a whole comes together to make this a successful event,” DiPiazza said.

The players – dressed in full uniform – participated in an Opening Day ceremony, a ceremonial first pitch, and the annual 12-year-old Home Run Derby. The Worcester Bravehearts – specifically mascot Jake the Lion – helped entertain the players and add excitement to the event.

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