September 23 - October 14, 2009written by: Basil (Vasyl) P. Tarasko
District Administrator of the Little League program in Ukraine since 1995.
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The 2nd Annual Ukraine Little League Baseball Baseball Championship for children, ages 11 and 12, from Orphanages (only program of its kind in the world), was held on the grounds of an orphanage in Kremenets, Ternopil oblast, October 1 - 4, 2009.
Teams arrived Wednesday, September 30, and the games begin Thursday, October 1, with the Championship game scheduled for Sunday, October 4. The children also competed in pitching and base running competitions. On Saturday each child participated in a lottery choosing souvenirs provided by the Eastern Region of Little League Baseball in the USA.
In addition, a full cultural program was provided for these smiling children. On Thursday, all the teams toured the city of Kremenets including visits to the remnants of a castle and the local museums. On Friday, we traveled by bus to the Pachayiva Monastery, where the the children viewed various historical churches.
On Saturday, the teams viewed St Ann's Blessed Well.. Please note the Ukraine Little League program provides each child with a full day program, athletic and a rich educational cultural component too.The children were housed at the orphanage at Kremenets. Rooms for three were spotless and quite comfortable. Special thanks to the California Association to Aid Ukraine (CAAU) for sponsoring the housing and prizes for the children. You care.
Competing all — star teams were: Mizoch Orphanage LL ( Rivne oblast), Lutuhyne Orphanage LL (Lugansk obl), Donetsk Orphanage LL (Donetsk obl), and host Kremenets Orphanage LL (Ternopil obl). Please note that the teams from Eastern Ukraine each traveled over 24 hours to play baseball.
Each team played each other with the top two teams meeting on October 4th for the coveted title. Donetsk won all 3 of their games, thus advancing, and the other three teams finished 1 - 2. Rules dictate that the team which allowed the fewest runs also advances. Well, the Mizoch team permitted the fewest runs and joined Donetsk in the finals. By the way, the Mizoch orphanage is located a few kilometers from where my mother was born, Derman II, in the Volyn region of Ukraine.
Sunday, October 4th, 2009, Championship day, undefeated Donetsk against the lads from Mizoch, who would win ???
Donetsk easily captured the 2nd Ukraine LL Baseball Championships for orphans by the score of 21 - 8. But all the children were winners. The beautiful closing ceremonies at the Kremenets main soccer field included a parade of all the teams, coaches, and staff. We all stood proudly and sang the Ukraine National Anthem.
Medals were awarded to the winning team from Donetsk, donated by CAAU. Each team received many educational souvenirs donated by the National Olympic Committee of Ukraine. Sweets were also provided for the trip home by Kraft Foods - Ukraine.
Special thanks to the Lead Sponsor for this 2nd Ukraine LL Championship for orphans:
The Chopivsky Foundation (USA).
There were many hits, many runs and so many smiles from the children. These smiles are for you. You, who helped me help the almost forgotten children of Ukraine play baseball, compete in skills competition and visit local cultural sites.
Thank you so much for being there for all the children. You truly care and you showed it.
Self Reliance (NY) Federal Credit Union
California Association to Aid Ukraine (CAAU)
Anglo - Ukr - Energy
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America - Philadelphia Branch (UCCA)
Victor & Clara Battin Foundation
United Ukrainian American Relief Committee (UUARC)
National Olympic Committee of Ukraine
Kraft Foods - Ukraine
Hertz Auto Rental - Ukraine
There is more:
The 5th Ukraine Little League Baseball & Softball Clinic for new and inexperienced coaches was held October 9 - 11, 2009 in the town of Vyzhynitsia, (Chernivsti obl).
Our kind sponsors covered the costs of housing and meals for all participants. Coaches were responsible for their travel costs.
Coaches traveled from Vyzhynitsia, Rivne, Uman, Chernivsti, Kyiv, Symferopil and Cherkasy to attend this clinic. Meetings that Friday focused on organizing a Little League program on the local level. On Saturday, we focused on teaching basic skills, what it takes to play baseball, rules, drills and activities in gyms. On Sunday, all the participants went to a baseball game in Chernivsti. The Ukraine Baseball playoffs were in progress. Symferopil defeated Chernivsti handily but what was important was the fact the new coaches saw the game played and the skills that were introduced the day before were now exhibited in real time. There was ample time to explain further the complicated but interesting rules of baseball. All coaches went back home with a better understanding of the Little League baseball program.
Once again special thanks to all the sponsors who helped make this trip a success.
Without the support of the caring sponsors none of this would be possible. Thank you for helping me help the children of Ukraine.
Basil P. Tarasko
District Administrator of the Little League Baseball program for children in