"Have a great season players and play ball!" announced Miranda Valencia as the Hesperia Recreation and Park District's recreation baseball season got underway last Saturday morning at Coleman Field.


The non-competitive league is open to boys and girls ages 5 through 12. Younger players hit T-ball while a pitching machine is used for the older players.


The three-year-old program was started to give young players an alternative to competitive baseball.


"We offer something different," said Sarah Hauser, a park district recreation supervisor. "It's less stressful for the kids. It's for the kids to come out and get playing time. Every kid comes up to bat every inning."


"Now they're having balls being hit," said Recreation Supervisor Tim Glass. "There's a lot more fielding going on too."


And the program is being well-received by both players and their parents.


"In three years we've grown close to 250 percent. Kids are enjoying it and coming back to baseball," Glass said.


According to Hauser, there are 10 T-ball teams (ages 5-6), 10 rookie (7-8), six minors (9-10) and five majors (11-12).


"We want to have the families come, aunts, uncles and grandma's," Hauser said.


For more information on the Hesperia Recreation and Park District's recreation baseball program, call (760) 244-5488.