Baseball season back at WRALL

awoolen@macon.comMarch 12, 2014 

wrall_opening

Maj. Gen. Richard Haddad, vice commander of Air Force Reserve Command, heads to the mound Friday to congratulate Challenger league player Jonathan Murphy, who threw out the first pitch during Warner Robins American Little League’s opening ceremonies Friday.

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  • The Warner Robins American Little League is prepped for the 2014 season.

WARNER ROBINS -- Some waved American flags while others cheered as the teams from Warner Robins American Little League processed from the T-ball field to the major league field.

Led by the Junior ROTC group from Northside High School and bagpipe player Mary Janice Thrift, the younger children and coaches carried banners and slapped hands with the older players as part of the parade.

Teams braved the chilly air to start the 2014 season as part of the opening ceremonies Friday. The first games started Saturday.

A sea of jerseys in contrasting colors of yellow, baby blue and green filled the outfield as teams filed in to the bagpiper’s song.

As the 75th season of Little League gets underway around the world, WRALL paid tribute to some of its local stars and possible future ones.

Ashley Killebrew, a member of the 2009 and 2010 Little League World Series championship softball teams, caught the first pitch from her sister Katie Killebrew, while Hunter Jackson, who was on the 2007 championship baseball team, caught for his brother Kendall Jackson.

Challenger league player Jonathan Murphy threw the first pitch to Maj. Gen. Richard Haddad, vice commander of Air Force Reserve Command, the guest speaker.

Haddad spoke mainly to the players during his short speech about what playing sports does. He also thanked the parents and volunteers for all of the hours spent at the ballpark.

“There’s a lot of lessons learned playing sports,” Haddad said.

He played Little League baseball growing up and also played football in college for the U.S. Air Force Academy.

His daughter, Tory Haddad, played softball at Ohio State University and Florida State University.

The family comes from a long line of baseball players.

Tory Haddad’s grandfather, Al Warneke, pitched for the Chicago Cubs, and her great uncle, Lon Warneke, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals, according to the FSU website.

Even though the focus was on baseball and softball that night, Richard Haddad wanted the players to know there was another goal in life.

“The most important thing is getting an education,” he said.

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