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Little League: Three months of fun for $1 a day

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Little League: Three months of fun for $1 a day

Listening to Jim Rachels talk baseball, center, are, from left, Jake Menasco, Ken Menasco, Sam Meredith, Kyle Rachels, and Koryn Menasco.

DENNIS WYATT/The Bulletin/


POSTED January 27, 2009 1:05 a.m.
Jim Rachels is managing partner of the California Cougars professional indoor soccer team. He operates his own business - MCR Engineering - and is involved heavily with family activities.
None of that is going to keep him away from the Manteca Little League fields this spring where he coaches a minor division team.
The reason? Rachels remembers just how important playing baseball was to him growing up in the nearby Powers Tract neighborhood and the lessons that it taught him.
“It beats having your kids sitting at home doing nothing but exercising their thumbs playing video games,” Rachels said Monday at the Lincoln Park playing fields.
Those twice-a-week practices and twice-a-week games for three months aren’t about winning but it is about learning basic skills, building self-confidence, being part of a team and making friends besides the ones players have in school or in their neighborhoods.
Manteca Little League registration takes place this Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Straw Hat Pizza, 1238 N. Main St. The cost is $100 per player. Proof of birth and residence are required for all players.
Player tryouts and late registration are set for Saturday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 7, at Lincoln Park on Powers Avenue from 9:30 to 11 a.m. for 11 and 12 year olds, 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. for 9 to 10 year olds, and 1:15 to 3 p.m. for 7 to 8 year olds.
The league is open to players who live in Manteca south of Louise Avenue and east of Main Street as well as all residents of Ripon and Escalon. They generally attend Joshua Cowell, Lincoln, Woodward, and Shasta schools in Manteca and all elementary schools in Ripon and Escalon.
Rachels didn’t have a chance to play in an organized Little League but he did spend six years of his childhood starting at 6 playing sand-lot ball where the Lincoln Park baseball field is now located.
He can rattle off details of those days as well as the lessons he learned from playing.
“There are a lot of sports analogies used in business because playing sports is a way that people learn about teamwork,” Rachels said.
Ken Menasco, who also coaches, said Little League players learn to keep things in perspective. He noted that after one game where their team got it hammered 20-2 by the league leaders, a player came up and told him not to worry as “we still had fun.”
Rachels said he sits down with parents at the start of the year and encourages them to video tape their children at the start of the year and at the end of the season. That way they can see the skills and confidence their child has gained and understands it is more important than winning.
Rachels also likes the family atmosphere offered by Little League adding that the Manteca league often has nearby residents who don’t have any players stop by and watch games such as Fred Milner.
“They (neighbors) are really supportive,” he noted.
The league is in need of sponsors at $375 a team. Rachels, who is also a team sponsor, said it is one of the most cost effective and best investments a business can make in the community. Manteca Little League President Garrett Matthews believes so strongly that in addition to investing his time he sponsors three teams.
Volunteers are needed to umpire, operate the snack bar and coach. For more information go on line to  www.mantecalittleleague.com or call 922-6335.
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