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Little League gets back into swing of season in El Dorado Hills

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - Blossoms on the trees and sunny weather signal the beginning of spring just as baseball players ready for opening day.

More than 700 players on 60 teams from T-ball to Juniors turned out Saturday, March 16, for opening day of the El Dorado Hills Little League.

“This is our annual thing,” said Dan Francisco, one of the volunteer coaches. “It’s also a good opportunity to show community spirit and to thank all of our sponsors.”

A parade of teams that strung from the parking lot of Community Center Park in El Dorado Hills to the baseball fields, set the day in motion.

The teams assembled on the field, sang the National Anthem and said the Little League Pledge.

All of the pageantry was followed by pictures, a hit-a-thon and a barbecue.

Claire and Andy Tauriainen have five boys between them, ages 10, 9, 8, 7 and 6, and they all play baseball.

 “They are looking forward to playing games after weeks of practice,” Andy Tauriainen said. “They were also excited to get their uniforms.”

Claire Tauriainen said having so many kids on the teams could have become problematic with game and practice schedules.

“The league was very accommodating,” she said. “They were able to put two of the boys on one team and the others on a team together. We now have two game schedules and two practice schedules. It’s awesome.”

Trent Smith, 12, has been playing baseball for eight years, he said, “Because it’s fun.”

“I get to be with all my friends,” said the pitcher for the Braves.

Brendan Bennett, has an 8-year-old son Owen playing for his fourth season.

“He’s looking forward to playing. Today (opening day) is just another social event,” he said.

Connor Gould, 13, plays first base, pitcher and outfield for the junior Cubs.

He said it isn’t all fun and games.

“You have to be watching at all times,” Gould said. “You can easily screw up.”