Beverly Little League celebrated its 65th season with its annual opening day festivities this past weekend.
The state’s oldest Little League chapter, first-year Beverly Little League president Tom Smith hosted the ceremonies at Harry Ball Field.
Three special people each threw out a first pitch to commemorate the start to the 2014 season. Riley Fessenden, the 6-year-old Beverly resident who is battling cancer, threw out a pitch to Nathan Randazza of the Major Cardinals; Sean Munzing, a Beverly Little League graduate, represented the Beverly High School Division 2 state championship hockey team by throwing his pitch to Danny Morency of the Major Indians; and Jake McLaughlin, a high school freshman and Beverly LL graduate who now umpires in the league, threw out his first pitch to his sister Meghan, another Beverly LL graduate who is a member of the Beverly High softball team.
Matt Ploszay was given the honor of reading the Little League pledge to the gathering, which included Beverly Little League players, coaches, volunteers, parents and siblings.
In addition, five gentlemen were inducted into the Beverly Little League Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014: Bruce Kittredge and his father, James Kittredge; Dave Chalifour, Jim Amatucci and John Gagnon.
A moment of silence was also held for long-time youth sports organizer and coach Hank McLaughlin (father of Jake and Meghan), who passed away earlier this year.
Representatives from the Beverly High championship hockey team, including head coach Bob Gilligan, were on hand for this special event.
Mayor Mike Cahill, who spoke to the crowd, was on hand in addition to aldermen Paul Guanci and John Frates.
Beverly Little League, which will again serve as home to this year’s Massachusetts State Final Four in August, has over 500 players in its five divisions (Majors, Triple-A, Double-A, Farms and T-Ball).