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Sellwood Baseball now has a new name -- Cleveland Baseball -- but other than that, very little has changed...

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - Among the Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball Board Members who were able to attend the July 29th recognition dinner in Woodstock were these. Shown from left: David Kreifels, Ken Davis, Chris Amistadi, Ryan Kullberg, Meeka Kullberg, Siv Larsen, Norm Hersom, and Cora Chance.On a Thursday evening near the end of summer, "Cleveland Baseball" (formerly known as "Sellwood Baseball") held a coaches' appreciation dinner in the back yard of the Homestead Schoolhouse, in the Woodstock neighborhood – at Woodstock Boulevard and S.E. 42nd Avenue.

The event recognized the league's 80 coaches, who volunteer their time to coach throughout the year. "We are here to celebrate our coaches for all their commitment and hard work," commented Ryan Kullberg, an Eastmoreland resident who is entering his third year as President of the league. The longer name for the league is "Cleveland Youth Baseball & Softball (formerly Sellwood Junior Baseball & Softball)". For over twenty years the league has been providing Southeast Portland youth – both boys and girls – an opportunity to play baseball and softball.

Coaches – 40 of them were in attendance at the recognition dinner – as well as Board Members, and parents, were there enjoying food and drink. "Otto's provided the grill and hotdogs, and other Woodstock businesses provided beverages and sides. A lot of local businesses, such as the Homestead Preschool and many others in the neighborhood, have been longtime sponsors of the league," explained Kiley Cronen, a parent as well as Homestead Schoolhouse's co-owner, who joined the baseball organization's Board this year. Meeka Kullberg added, "Kiley was a much-beloved Farm Ball coach with [his wife] Keli this year. Farm Ball is the level between T-Ball and competitive baseball for first and second grade players, where they learn the basics – such as hitting a pitched ball, counting outs, and introducing players to pitching and catching."

ELIZABETH USSHER GROFF - A banner hung at the baseball-coach recognition celebration showed a few of the youth baseball and softball leagues neighborhood and community sponsors.BEE readers might wonder just what differentiates Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball from other youth baseball organizations. Meeka Kullberg had the explanation: "We have multiple teams from each age group playing against other programs at the same level. Each age group is split into three skill levels, with the most-skilled players competing against each other, in a highly competitive league – both at a competitive level, and at a recreational level. The intent is for all players to be 'appropriately challenged', and enjoying the opportunity for success."

Events Director and Board Member Cora Chance organized the recognition dinner, and former President and current Board Member David Kreifels was responsible for contacting and gaining support from over two dozen neighborhood and community business sponsors.

As the celebratory evening got underway, Meeka Kullberg remarked, "We're so grateful to our coaches and Board Members, who generously give their time to make sure the kids have the opportunity to play ball in our community."

All young people are welcome to play baseball with Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball; players do not have to reside within the Cleveland High School boundary, despite the new name of the organization.

Meeka said that another of the benefits of playing Cleveland Youth Baseball and Softball is the opportunity to get to know kids from a variety of areas. "One of our teams of eleven players was made up of kids from ten different middle schools!"

All registration details can be found on the league website – www.clevelandyouthbaseball.com


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