WRALL starts 2013 season with new president

awoolen@macon.comDecember 19, 2012 

WARNER ROBINS -- A new season brings a new president to Warner Robins American Little League.

Last season, Joey Stella was in his second year of being the umpire in charge for WRALL. Next season, he will take the helm of the league that seems to always be in the spotlight.

Stella was elected in September and started as president Oct. 1.

So far, it has been smooth sailing.

“It’s not March,” Stella said chuckling.

The second weekend in March is usually the start for the league, which runs through May.

Stella works as a civilian at Robins Air Force Base and has three children, Tyler, age 11, Tanyon, age 6, and Talon, age 2.

“With us having the three boys, coaching always has played a big roll in parenthood for him,” said his wife, Mandy Stella.

She said her husband grew up in a house where his own father, Roger Stella Sr., was very involved in coaching and passed on that tradition to his son.

Joey Stella isn’t giving up on umpiring, though. He was an umpire last season at the state championships and plans on one day being able to be an umpire at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

Just like an umpire, though, he and his family know not everyone will be happy with the way things are done.

He and the other members of the board will be trying to make sure the fields are tended, so they are in top shape once the spring season starts.

“We want to make sure we get the fields safe for the kids,” Joey Stella said.

The children are his first priority, both his and everyone else’s who are at the ballfield.

“Not everyone will be happy with every decision that is made, but Joey really does care about all 1,000-plus kids that will be playing in the spring,” Mandy Stella said.

One priority he is carrying over from last season is to continue the fundraising efforts for the Challenger League field.

The Challenger League is to provide a place for Houston County students with learning or physical disabilities to enjoy the sport of baseball.

The league is also expanding into the junior and senior leagues for softball and continuing its junior league for baseball.

Last season, the baseball junior league had a waiting list for players who were unable to get on a team.

He might be at the head of the board, but Joey Stella said the success of the league doesn’t just rest on his shoulders.

“There are 18 of us,” he said.

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