On a chilly and blustery Saturday morning at Stancill Park, the Havre de Grace Little League opened its 69th season by honoring three long-time volunteers with an organization whose leaders note has served some 20,000 boys and girls.

With hundreds of players, parents, grandparents and dignitaries looking on at the annual Opening Day ceremony, fields in the complex were named for Larry Strong, Timothy Pollitt and Ted Hendricks.

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The three men, who were clearly surprised by the honors, stood speechless in the infield of what will be known as Larry Strong Field, as members of their families carried signs bearing their names that will be affixed on the scoreboards of their respective fields.

"Crazy, crazy," Hendricks kept saying, as he was joined by his wife, Pat, and daughters Justine and Taylor, the latter who had secretly arrived from Georgia for the occasion.

All three men were previously inducted in the organization's hall of fame.

Larry Strong

Strong has been a volunteering with Havre de Grace Little League for 32 years and has served as an assistant administrator in Maryland District 5 Little, has been long-time umpire and has mentored many of the managers, coaches, and umpires that support the league today.

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He has managed and coached in every division of baseball and softball and has managed multiple all-star teams, as well as a Maryland District Big League Championship team.

Strong is known for devoting his spare time "to field maintenance, a little more field maintenance and also a little more field maintenance," according to background information read at the ceremony.

Strong's late wife, Sharon Strong, was also a Havre de Little League volunteer and his two sons, Frankie and Roy, both played baseball with the league, as do his five grandchildren, Dajour, Alex, Kyra, RJ and Donavon, and his two nieces, Christy and Rebecca Ayers.

The field named for Strong is also the home field of Havre de Grace High School baseball teams.

Timothy Pollitt

Pollitt began his association with Havre de Grace Little League when his son, Mike, was in Tee Ball and the team manager resigned, Pollitt took over and was the start of many years working with the program.

He worked with the teams that both of his sons, Mike and Matt, were part of, doing whatever was needed including manager, coach, scorekeeper, player rep and equipment manager. He continued being part of Little League after his sons aged out of the program.

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He loved umpiring and did so for many years. As was noted during the ceremony, it's not unusual for people to come to Pollitt and his wife, Barbara, when they are in a local store and to say, "Do you remember me? You umpired a lot my games at Little League."

Pollitt is currently serves as a member of the Havre de Grace Little League board and is its treasurer. One of the complex's other baseball fields was named for him.

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Ted Hendricks

Hendricks' involvement with Havre de Grace Little League started even before Stancill Park was built. He began playing Little League baseball at age 9, when games were played at Havre de Grace Elementary School.

One of his earliest coaches was his father, Donald Hendricks, who was inducted into the Havre de Grace Little League Hall of Fame in 2004.

His coaching career began in the 1970s, when he stepped in at the last minute to coach his younger brothers' baseball team. He joined the Little League Board of Directors in 1981 and continued to volunteer in various roles, most notably helping to bring softball into the Havre de Grace program.

With his father-in-law, the late Herb Lewis, a 1998 Hall of Fame inductee, Hendricks helped plan and design Stancill Park's first softball field. The press box was later dedicated in memory of Herb Lewis.

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In 1997, Hendricks began his softball coaching career as manager of the Major Division Tides when his oldest daughter, Justine, was 11. Over the next decade, he managed and coached teams in the minor, major, junior, and senior softball divisions, and managed all-Star teams in the major, junior, and senior divisions as his daughters moved through the program.

He twice managed all-star softball teams that won District 5 and Maryland state championships and participated in the regional tournament in Worcester, Mass.

Nearly a decade after his daughters aged out of Little League, Hendricks continues to volunteer as an manager, umpire and board member. This season he is coaching a senior division softball team.

Hendricks, who is also editor of The Aegis and The Record, is known for telling his players three rules: "Play hard. Play together. Have fun."

The complex's softball field, which is also the home of Havre de Grace High School Softball, was named for Hendricks, who also is a former assistant coach at the high school.

Hall of Fame induction

Inducted into the Havre de Grace High School Hall of Fame Saturday were Tommy Miller and John JD Donaldson.

Miller has been an umpire with the organization and participates in field maintenance on a regular basis.

Donaldson has been associated with Little League since 1995 as a manager and volunteer. This three sons played in the organization and his grandson is currently playing.

The owner of local lawn care service, his company frequently aids in field maintenance.

The newest hall of fame inductees participated in first pitch ceremonies, as did Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin and 11-year-old Errol Hersh.

Play ball!

Havre Grace Little League has 29 teams playing in every division from Tee Ball to senior baseball and softball.

Each team paraded onto the field Saturday and for the first time this year, each made a banner to walk with. The banners were judged and the prizes, free team snowballs, were announced for the Decoys, third place; Brewers, second place; and Riptide, first place.

As was noted by the field announcer, many of today's players are the third, and even fourth, generation of the first players who suited up nearly seven decades ago.

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