COURTESY OF RIVERSIDE LITTLE LEAGUE

Riverside Little League has officially opened registration for the 2014 season of tee ball, baseball and girls softball.

Registration began earlier than in past years, with easy sign-up and payment available online at www.riversidell.com. Registration runs through Jan. 18, 2014.

In addition to growing the number of players and teams, the league will continue to work with the Village of Riverside Parks and Recreation Department on improvements at ball fields in Indian Gardens, Harrington and Big Ball parks.

“Riverside Little League is excited to work toward better fields and a better program,” said RLL Board President Michael Gentile. “We are planning fund-raisers to help improve dugouts, pitchers’ mounds and batters’ boxes that will drain better in the rainy season. We are also revamping the tee ball program to make it a more educational and fun experience for our youngest players.” 

Another change is that Little League International now allows children to play in the town in which they attend school. This new rule enables boys and girls at St. Mary’s, Ames Elementary and Hauser Junior High schools who don’t live in the village to play with their friends in Riverside.

“That rule change could have a positive effect on our registration, kids will be able to play baseball with their classmates.,” Gentile said.

League fees range from $100 to $175, for 5-year-old Tee ball through 13- and 14-year-old softball and baseball. 

“While we don’t like to raise fees, the new fees will help us make up for last year’s operating loss,” gentile said. “Cost-wise, Riverside Little League remains very competitive with area programs.” The operating loss was due in part to a decrease in team sponsorship that occurred the same year the league hired professional umpires for the older levels, purchased needed equipment and began providing better-quality uniforms.

“We’re excited for the new season,” Gentile said. “A strong Little League helps a community. We have a great group of parents who are active in Little League through coaching, helping or being on the board. This can only benefit the kids of Riverside.”