As the groundhog said, it’s fast approaching Spring and that means tryouts for Little League on the Key. Shown here are the minor division fastpitch hopefuls showing off their ability to catch pop flies. Photo by Ed Johnson, KP News

As winter fades, temperatures rise, and the grass begins to grow, children from around the Key Peninsula will head to the baseball fields for another year of Key Peninsula Little League.

Little League is an organization that allows children from the ages of 4 to 16 to experience baseball, T-ball and softball in a fun, competitive environment that builds athletic and teamwork skills. It was founded in 1939 in Pennsylvania, but quickly spread across the United States and even into other countries, and today has over 2 million players in 80 nations around the world.

Although the organization has now grown large enough to host its own nationally televised World Series, the main purpose of bringing baseball and community to children remains the same. KPLL board member Holly Newman Dzyban describes it as, “Getting kids out, being active and getting exercise outside, which happens a little too rarely these days.”

Home games are played on the three fields of Volunteer Park, located on Key Peninsula Highway south of Key Center. As a member of Washington District 2 Little League, other games are played in Gig Harbor and Kitsap County. The many areas involved with the program are another advantage.

“We met kids from different schools, kids who were younger, kids who were older,” says Dzyban of her own children’s time playing in the league. “It’s just a great way to get involved and build a community.”

Teenager Max Goins probably puts the appeal of the league most simply. “It was a great experience to have with many friends…and a lot of fun.”

The local Key Peninsula teams have enjoyed considerable success in past years. The Junior level team, composed of 12, 13 and 14 year olds, took home the District 2 championship in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, advancing to the state tournament.

The Senior team, made up of the most experienced 13-16 year olds, also won the District 2 championship for the 2015 season and placed fourth in the end-of-season tournament, competing against teams from Seattle and Vancouver along the way.

The 2016 season will begin March 19, the last day of winter, and run through mid-June, the end of spring.

Tryouts for the current season have ended, but online registrants at kpll.teampages.com will still be accepted and assigned to a team. Baseball is available for ages 6 to 16, softball for 8 to 16 year olds, and t-ball for 4 to 6 year olds. Fees range from $80-95.

To get involved in KPLL as a sponsor, coach or other volunteer, more information can be found at kpll.teampages.com. General information about Little League policies and history can be found at littleleague.org.

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