AMHERST — With rising numbers and many developmental opportunities, the Amherst Baseball organization is looking forward to an exciting and successful 2024 season.

“We offer a fast-paced and action-packed brand of baseball and softball that keeps kids engaged, active and having fun,” said Sanjay Arwade, president of the board of directors for Amherst Baseball. “We also offer a high level of competition with most of our divisions participating in out-of-town games in addition to in-town games and options for post-season tournament play.”

With baseball programs for ages 4 to 17 and softball programs for ages 6 to 12, Amherst Baseball has a wide range of opportunities for young players.

“If anything our numbers have been on the rebound since COVID,” noted Arwade. “We feel it’s important for kids to be outside and active, and, of course, we think baseball is a great option that engages the mind and body. We always want more kids playing in general, and more kids playing baseball and softball.”

As part of the development opportunities, the league is hosting clinics for its players to prepare for the spring season. The baseball clinics will be on March 16 from 9 a.m. to noon. at Coolidge Cage at Amherst College and also on March 24 from 9 a.m. to noon at Boyden Gym at the University of Massachusetts. The softball clinics will be on March 10 from 9 a.m. to noon at Boyden Gym at the, March 17 from 9 a.m. noon at Coolidge Cage and March 23 from 9 a.m. to noon at Boyden Gym.

The softball teams will also have a newly renovated field to play on at Hadley Elementary School. The town received the funds from the state budget in 2022 and construction is set to start soon.

“The most exciting change for our Little League softball program is the renovation of an existing baseball field behind Hadley Elementary School into a regulation 12U softball field by removing grass from the infield, leveling the pitching mound, and erecting a new fence around the field,” said Mara Breen, vice president of the board of directors. “We’re hoping the field will be ready for opening day in April.”

The exciting clinics and new fields are just part of the reasons to play baseball and softball. In addition to the physical benefits in terms of strength and cardiovascular health, other benefits reach beyond the playing field.

“We know that exercise is also beneficial for mental health, reducing stress and helping players learn to manage anxiety,” explained Breen. “In addition, softball and baseball are also cognitive sports, meaning success is determined not only by skill but also by concentration and quick thinking. Developing these skills is valuable for lifelong learning. Finally, playing sports provides the social benefits of teamwork and working towards a common goal.”

The organization, now more than 60 years old, also offers a no-questions-asked scholarship program for anyone in need of financial support. Players from Amherst, Leverett, Sunderland, Pelham, Shutesbury and Hadley are eligible to play. For more information or to register, visit www.amherstbaseball.org.

Tina Lesniak
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