Fredonia Little League will be returning to Buddy Rogers Ballpark this summer. Signups started Saturday, May 7, and organizer Bayley McDonald says it’s expecting the biggest season yet.

“There’s just something really special about the ballpark down there,” McDonald said. “It just feels like you step back in time a little bit. It’s laid back, things move a little bit slower, and there’s just something about being down there.”

McDonald said the ballpark is central to Fredonia, and has been for a long time. It hosts many community events, and she remembers playing ball there when she was younger.

“If I look back on my childhood, little league ball was probably the highlight of my childhood,” McDonald said. “It was always so fun.”

After she graduated, the ballpark died down. McDonald was inspired to bring it back because she wanted her own son to have the same childhood experiences. She felt that was something the community was missing. “If ballparks aren’t being used,” she said, “they lose their life.”

McDonald started the little league back up in 2018. That year, she had three t-ball teams and a six-month-old crawling around everywhere (her son), and said it was such a “light environment to be in.” She felt it was so beautiful to see the ballpark come back to life.

“I think we’re getting away from the simplicity of just going out and playing ball,” McDonald said.

The league is open to anyone, and isn’t split up by county. They also don’t travel. She said that this is what helps to foster the sense of community. Everyone comes out to one park to watch all the kids play, and they get to spend time together somewhere that is special.

“I’ve always said that there’s something about the Fredonia community,” McDonald said. “Everybody knows each other, and everybody takes the time to help each other.”

The t-ball league has become so popular that McDonald is no longer able to run it herself, so this season, she has created a board to help organize everything. Signups started this past weekend and will be every Saturday in May from 9 a.m. to noon at Buddy Rogers Ballpark. There will be a small skills assessment so teams can be divided, so McDonald asks that children come along to signups. There is also a form that needs to be completed, and it can be picked up at Feagan’s Furniture, Akridge Farm Supply and Coppertop BBQ.

There will be four leagues this summer, and all leagues are co-ed. All leagues except softball will also be coach pitch. T-ball will be for four to six year olds, minor league baseball will be for ages seven to nine, major league baseball will be for ages 10 to 13 and slow pitch softball will be for ages 14 to 18. Eighteen-year-old participants must still be in high school.

The cost to play will be $35 and $25 for each additional sibling. Hats are also available for $5. The season is planned to run from June 13 to Aug. 13, which is Summer Festival weekend. Practice will begin the first week of June.

McDonald shared that it’s in need of more coaches this year, and encouraged anyone interested to reach out to her at 270-601-0973. She knows it would be a great opportunity to get more involved in the local community and support such an important part of summer in the valley.

McDonald thinks the league is popular because it takes the pressure off kids. She said it was all about “fun in the sun, playing in the dirt, sweating because it’s 100 degrees outside and just playing ball.”

According to McDonald, the ballpark is the heart of the Fredonia community, and she’s excited to see what this season is going to hold.