Baseball season got a big start Saturday with 30 teams playing at the second annual Opening Day Ceremony at Hesperia Community Park.


Leticia Altamirano spends a lot of time on the field with her three children in Hesperia Little League: Araceli, 12, Nadia, 8, and Benjamin, 7. The children play for the Major Sun Devils, Minors Blue Jays and Minor Brewers, respectively.


"Opening day to me marks the beginning of the season," Altamirano said. "It's good for the kids they know the games are coming, the whole teamwork thing and just being with people on the field."


The event gives kids the chance to get to know one another, something they don't get to do while learning game fundamentals during weekly practices, Altamirano said. It also builds a strong team, community and allows parents to meet, she said.


A start of the season motivator, opening day lets kids have fun and spend time with their friends, Farm Braves Coach Ron Sage said. They also see "how big baseball really is," he said, with all the teams together instead of just the seven or eight they usually encounter.


Instead of coaching this year, Hesperia Little League President Fernando Rodriguez said he'll just enjoy being a parent watching 5-year-old son Nathan on the Farm Braves.


He likes that the league teaches children "leadership, teamwork and integrity," he said.


"It's just a positive atmosphere making not (only) baseball fun, but it teaches them lifelong lessons at such a young age, while also being able to have fun learning those lessons," Rodriguez said.


Sage said he teaches his 5- and 6-year-old players to have fun, be good listeners and teammates.


Hesperia Park and Recreation District Staff Assistant Judy Trenholm, who has been active in Little League for 25 years, shared what she enjoys most about the game.


"Obviously winning I like being able to get out there and watch my grandson play and being able to spend time with him," Trenholm said of 5-year-old Ryan Ownby.


By being there for the kids the league helps build self-esteem, Trenholm said, while keeping them away from trouble and active after school and during weekends. The league also teaches teamwork, making the game about the team and not the individual, she said.


At the opening ceremony, Trenholm said she would recite The Little League pledge with Ownby by her side. Some of the pledge includes, "I trust in God, love my country and will respect its laws," she said.


In its 40th year, Saturday marked the league's second annual opening day, Rodriguez said. He expected as many as 1,000 people at the event with 500 children in the league.


The event included High Desert Maverick's mascot Wooly Bully, radio station Y102, bounce houses and vendors.