Martha's Vineyard Little League (MVLL) continues to be on sound financial footing, and is committed to providing an affordable program for players ages 4-13 that is inclusive of every child that registers. Penn Field has been a significant upgrade in facility, quality and convenience for our community, and for 2018 the infield is being expanded for our Majors level to 50/70 (50 ft pitching distance, 70 ft base paths) from the previous 46/60. The larger infield allows for rules that are closer to high school regulations. Our Board has also seen that players enjoy these fields more when our travel teams play in tournaments during the summer. The biggest challenge facing youth baseball programs across the country is declining enrollment, and Penn Field and the change in rules for our most experienced level is an effort to play a faster-paced, more detailed game between pitcher, catcher, hitter & baserunners. MVLL is also starting an outreach program to the Brazilian community in an effort to increase diversity and participation for 2018 and beyond.
2016 marked Penn Field’s first full season of use. We were able to work out a few wrinkles that showed themselves during the summer/fall of 2015. Prior to the beginning of the 2016 season, we installed a sub-surface drainage system beneath the infield of the game field due to puddling water on the base paths. Both Opening Day in April and Championship Day in June were well attended with much applause for the overall facility. Games and practices in between were coordinated so the sharing of field time and practice equipment went smoothly. The availability of a batting tunnel has allowed for better run practices and pre-game workouts. The season also included “Little League World Series” participation which resulted in several home field games/victories – a first! Continued work includes the implementation of the remaining practice and game equipment, further establishment of the parking and socializing area(s), maintenance of the planted trees and privet hedge and outfitting the maintenance shed with storage for the field maintenance equipment. Coaches are gathering and the kids are dusting off their gloves (a baseball ritual in the northeast) in some of the local school gyms. With March a month away, Penn Field will come alive for another spring and summer of baseball fun. There is no one who is currently involved in the Little League program who is not aware of and thankful for MVYouth’s support.
Martha's Vineyard Little League was awarded funding to complete the construction of Penn Field, practice and game fields in Oak Bluffs that will ensure a safer, more professional game environment and a more centralized home for youth baseball. MVLL has organized competitive baseball on the Island for 50 years, with roughly 250-350 children participating annually. MVLL encourages participation and good sportsmanship for boys and girls in an environment of healthy competition, building community though teamwork, volunteer coaching and family participation. Over the last eight years, MVLL has worked to procure and clean-up an old car dump off of Pennsylvania Ave., in Oak Bluffs, to use as a multi-field complex and headquarters. After receiving Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds from the towns of Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and West Tisbury, as well as other local grants, the complex was designed and construction begun. Support from MVYouth has enabled MVLL to complete the final steps of this exciting project and enable the fields to be usable by the Spring of 2015. The new fields will enable MVLL to focus on skill development, provide additional advertising space to help sustain MVLL's annual operating expenses, facilitate increased family participation and host tournaments that will raise the level of play across the league.