A core of volunteers keep most youth sport programs going, and the Niles Baseball League is no exception.
We sat down with Tom Settepani, this year's commissioner, to find out what' going on.
Patch: What's new with Niles Baseball?
Tom Settepani: We have a Home Run Derby Saturday (June 23) at 3 p.m.for the younger ages.
We set up fencing all around the infield. Depending on the age level, if they hit the ball over the fence, it’s a home run.
Kids win a bat, we engrave it with the kid's name on it. So at each (age) level we’ll have a champion for the home run derby
We also have an All Star Game, with two or three kids from each team.
Are you getting lots of kids wanting to play baseball?
The numbers are dwindling, except Park Ridge seems to flourish. As a board we’re taking steps to try to entice the parents to bring the kids out.
Also, we’re incorporating Morton Grove and Niles playing together (to create enough teams in the league).
How's that going?
It’s pretty much our second year of combining Niles and Morton Grove. It seems to be working pretty well, especially Little League.
Instead of us playing them, we’ve integrated where we play it together. So Morton Grove and Niles kids mix on the same team.
Was it easy to integrate Morton Grove and Niles?
It’s not perfect, but now it's in its second year, the kinks are being worked out. We still sometimes have trouble with coaches; one coach sees it one way, another sees it another way.
Some coaches say Morton Grove brings their own (rules) sheet, they follow their own rules.
But it’s a success in the making.
How long have you been involved with Niles baseball?
Probably about 18 years. I have a 26 year old, and I coached my two boys. We played in Norwood Park for a couple years. My daughter played there. I used to coach in Norwood Park, but I wasn’t impressed with the field conditions. We like the parks here.
We need some more people on the board. We’ve had people come and go. I’ve been doing this a long time.
I’m the commissioner this year, it makes me get involved. It would be nice if some of the people who are moaning about things, if they think things can be done in a better way, come on out, we’d definitely welcome the help.