Augusta Little League
Little League Baseball Mission Statement
Little League believes in the power of youth baseball and softball to teach life lessons that build stronger individuals and communities.
MISSION OF AUGUSTA LITTLE BASEBALL
Current data shows that most kids will not continue playing youth sports beyond the age of 12. Less than 25% will continue to the next level. That is why it is important to look at baseball as more than winning or teaching the game but as a tool for teaching players how to become good citizens and to learn skills that will aid them later in life.
History of Augusta Little League
Baseball in the city of Augusta has a long and storied history. Back in the old days when the Augusta Millionaires fielded future Red Sox stars, teams representing and sponsored by the area mills in town leagues, Cony High School and its success, and of course the local Babe Ruth Teams and Little League teams with its championships.
All of it has to start somewhere however, and the launch pad for most has always been at the Little League level. Little League in Augusta Maine has not had its history meticulously recorded over time. Some information is known facts, and some is hearsay and perhaps even legend. It is believed that we gained our charter for Little League in 1959. However, there is evidence of Little League existing in the city of Augusta as far back as 1951. This evidence is from player certificates dated as such. Also, the HOMETOWN PICTORIAL, from The Boston Sunday Advertiser dated July 27, 1952, features a double page article with pictures of all the Little League teams, Umpires, Board of Directors, and Volunteers.
Within that article are teams sponsored by Fort Western Motors, Merrill’s Esso, Wadleigh Fuel, Harco Sporting Goods, Patterson Greenhouses, D.W. Adams, Lathe Fuel, and Purington Bros. The article states that there were two leagues with each team playing 18 games. The top team from the two leagues won the “Ben Houser” trophy and held onto it for a year. The commissioner of both the leagues in 1952, was Joe Gambino Sr. Other founders of the league included Ben Houser, former Bowdoin baseball coach and a Braves scout, Don Brenn who played for the Giants, Fred C. Kenney, and Sylvio “Turk” Gilbert associated with the Red Sox for over 20 years.
Little League back then however was not chartered under the umbrella of Little League International. It was more or less considered a “boys league”. All games were played at the Williams School complex. In the year 1959, under President Jack Maasen, Augusta East, South, and North all received their official Little League Charters. The legal work for the charters was done by Stanley Sproul. It is this year that Augusta East began play at what is now known as the Capitol Area Recreation Association, CARA, complex.
In 1959 Augusta East had one field, which would later become the Farm League field with the addition of a new field in 1964. The Farm League field stood where the State offices are now found at the complex, within the parking lot area.
The 1960’s brought quite a bit of change and growth. 1964 saw the completion of what is now known as Rivelli Field. The field itself was dedicated to Ray Rivelli in May. Ray passed away unexpectedly ten days before opening day. In fact, Ray had no sons of his own. He was simply a man who loved the game of baseball and would set up a batting tee on Mayflower Street and teach the neighborhood boys the art of hitting. It was here that a young Donald Sproul was promised by Ray that he would someday play for Ray and Hussey Hardware. The dream came true for Donald when as a nine-year-old he received a call from Coach Ray informing him that he had in fact made the team. That night sadly, Ray passed away in his sleep. Ten days later at opening day, Ray’s widow threw out the first pitch at the dedication of the field in Ray’s name.
Presidents of Augusta East in the sixties included Stan Sproul, George Pike, John Coughlin Sr., Ed Arbour, Ralph Ardito Sr., and George St. Pierre. Stan Sproul also served as District Five D.A. in the years 1961-1963. Teams took turns in the 60’s to mow the baseball fields, there was no concession stand, parents had to pack sandwiches and WRDO broadcast games on the radio.
The Augusta East All Stars captured District titles in 1960, ’63, ’65, and ’66. Capturing the State Title in 1960.
Many people may consider the 1970’s the heyday of Augusta East Little League. The fields finally featured a concession stand complete with Cott soda, and ice cream provided by Barne’s Ice Cream of Augusta. Presidents serving during the 1970’s included Albert Donovan, Nate Mitchell, Denny Towle, Donald Britt, Bob Lacasse, David Eakin, Joe Linscott, and Gloria Levasseur, the league’s first female president. The league also had its first female players in 1976 with Cathy Mudge and Kissy Walker.
1971 saw the All Stars under the leadership of Charlie Gallant and Bob Fairbrother win the Eastern Regionals and gain a trip to the Little League World Series. This was one of only two teams in the State to ever do so. The team finished fifth in the world that year. Future Cony Coach and longtime CARA volunteer Al Cloutier played on that team as well as Ed “Poochie” Pickett who would later go on to play in the College World Series at UMaine for legendary Coach John Winkin. The team also included Scott Mitchell, Bill Leet, Mark St. Pierre, Leon Mooney, Gerry Mason, Jeff Keezar, Brian Tokarz, Gene Ardito, Dave Diplock, Keith Burnham, Kelvin Gagnon and Paul Pickett. Augusta East also won the district title in 1973 and hosted the State Tournament in 1979.
The ’70’s also saw the addition of a third field in 1977, which would later be called Linscott Field in honor of longtime Coach, President, and Volunteer Joe Linscott. Jeff Davis hit the first homerun ever at the field for Augusta Savings & Loan under Manager William Perry. The homerun was hit to right field and slammed off the metal scoreboard. The field itself was designed by Ed Coffin who also coached the Cottle’s team. Labor for the field was done by the board of directors. Lights would later be added to the field itself. The ’70s also saw two of Augusta’s own be honored with the State’s highest award given to Little League volunteers, the Kenneth Sills Award. Joe Linscott winning it in 1975, and William Perry in 1978.
The 1980’s featured at the helm Presidents William Rodenburger, Larry Frye, Scott Karczewski, and Don Santerre. Larry Frye would also serve as District D.A. starting in 1985. The Augusta East All Stars captured the district title in 1985.
During the 1990’s the Augusta East All Stars continued its success with district titles in 1994, 1996, and 1999. Presidents included Dawn Gates, Dick Moreau, Gary Jean, and Dan Howard.
With the inception of the second millennium also came huge changes for Little League in Augusta. In the year 2006 under President Brian Childs and Mickey Bechard all leagues in Augusta combined to form one league. One can only wonder how far some of our all-star teams could have gone if this would have been the case in the earlier years. This also saw the construction and completion of the new concession stand at the Linscott field through the efforts of Wes Keltikya, Gerald Tyler, and artwork by Linda Edwards. Presidents from 2000 to 2009 included Brian Childs, Scott Edwards, Gerald Tyler, Wes Keltikya, Michelle Lee, and Dave Burns.
In the year 2013 Augusta East once again, to rave reviews hosted the State All-Star tournament. Presidents serving during the 2010 to present era include Gerard “Yeow” Lapierre, Dave Stolt and Dawn MacFarland. Scott Edwards took over the helm of District D.A. in 2010 which continued for the next four years.
2020 and 2021 offered all new challenges. A worldwide pandemic threatened to cancel baseball for not only Augusta but for other local leagues. The Augusta Little League board made the decision to try to provide the local area youth with an opportunity to continue to play ball. With the help of Hall-dale Little League and other local baseball league, that had to cancel their season, Augusta Little League, through a herculean effort of its board, was able to complete baseball both seasons. It became very evident that this decision would pay dividend for area youth for years to come. 2022 offers many similar challenges, with the continued worldwide pandemic and the continuing need to maintain and make improvements to the fields. But with the strong support of local volunteers and business baseball will continue to be part of the fabric of Central Maine for years to come.
Little League baseball in Augusta has certainly changed over the years. Once three separate leagues, now all have merged into one league for the entire area. Fields on the Piggery Road have been used since 1959 and, although various updates and improvements have occurred over the years, these facilities have been virtually untouched for over 25 years, until in 2018 when the league constructed a new blockhouse at Linscott Field for roughly $40,000.
To provide our players and families the best possible experience Augusta Little League has undertaken several major improvements from 2018 to 2021.These projects have included the replacement of blockhouses at both Linscott and Rivelli Fields. Augusta Little League also had the unforeseen replacement of our concession stand due to arson. Thankfully with extensive local and some support from all over the state and the country we were able to rebuild the stand. In 2022 we hope to replace both scoreboards with newly purchased state of the art wireless scoreboards before the season begins. Also, with the help of a grant from Capital Area Recreational Association we hope to replace both dugouts at Rivelli in 2022.
These are exciting times for Augusta Little League. We hope to continue making more improvement over the next years and with your support this will be possible. It is our goal to maintain of facility as one of the best in the state.
We hope you will consider helping our complex to continue to make much needed improvements into the future. Donations of all sizes matter. Parents, grandparents, friends and organizations can help us realize campaign success by donating money, by donating volunteer labor, or by helping make contacts with businesses and people in the greater Augusta community and sharing our story.