The 5th Ukraine Little League Baseball Championship for children from orphanages (internats) was held in Kremenets, Ternopil Oblast Sept 18 - 23, 2012. For the first time in our brief history 2 days of rain interrupted the schedule. Instead of round play where each team plays the other and then two top teams move on to the finals, I needed to revert to a double elimination format.
The forty boys and one girl, from Mizoch, needed to keep winning to avoid that second loss. The children ages, 10 - 12, came from two internats from Eastern Ukraine, Lutuhene (Luhansk Oblast) and from Donetsk and two from Western Ukraine, Mizoch and host Kremenets.
The skill of these all star teams improved from last year. This indicated that the coaches had used the correct teaching techniques during their season, which is always good to see.
The finals featured the teams from Mizoch and the defending champions from Donetsk. The classic East vs West final. The Championship game was not close as Donetsk easily defeated Mizoch 10 - 2 to once again take home the trophy.
You may ask what the children did during those two days of rain. Well, each of these Championships includes a daily cultural program. We didn’t just play baseball games. We gathered all the children at the local gym and put on a clinic to go over the proper way to run the bases and illustrated a throwing program to help strengthen each arm. There was a throwing competition during which each child threw at a target. Individual and team prizes were awarded. The Donetsk all- star team captured the team award.
On Thursday October 20th, we included a trip to the city of Pochaev where the children visited the monastery there. Riding on that old school bus was a treat for all. A tour of the Holy Dormition and Holy Trinity Cathedrals filled that morning. They also had a opportunity to witness a short play entitled “Holy Spirit”. That rainy day trip culminated with a tour of the Ethnographic Museum of Pochaev. Lunch was eagerly awaited by all.
Friday morning, day two of light rain, that old school bus was waiting once again to take us, this time to the host city of Kremenets to see the local attractions. A walking tour of this historic area included stops at the Slovatzky and the Ethnographic Museums, a hike to the Bona Hill castle and a walk through the local Botanical Gardens. The tour concluded at the city soccer stadium where the children were able to see the year round skiing trampoline located adjacent to the field. They all wished to try yet skiing, another time, another sport.
That Friday afternoon, the children anxiously awaited the annual lottery where each child could choose their own souvenir. Forty - one eagerly waiting happy faces looked at the nearly two hundred gifts at the schools recital hall. Hats, shirts, jackets, gloves, baseballs, and many other goodies were there for the taking. Gifts were donated by many, including items from Canada by our surprise guest Mr. Pavlo Perry Kalynuk, a Ukrainian from Manitoba, Canada; Emily Rivers, Eastern Region of Little League Baseball, Bristol CT; Rich Sanford, West Hartford Amateur Baseball Association, CT; and David Rhode, Pitch in for Baseball, Lansdale, PA. Thank you all for putting those smiles on the kids faces.
You should have seen how each child approached the tables and stood and looked and looked and tried to decide which prize to take. 20 seconds to decide, so much pressure, as other children were yelling, ‘take the hat”, “grab the shirt”, good confusion reigned. Lots of good laughs by all. Each coach participated by picking out winning numbers.
Of great help were those five United States Peace Corps Volunteers who took a week off from their regular assignment in Ukraine to be with us. They were wonderful representatives of the United States. They served ably as umpires, scorers and as English teachers for all the participants. Our young volunteers were always gentle, kind and positive in all their dealings with our Ukrainian children. Thank you Morgan Roth, Martinez, CA: Robert Lang, Springfield, GA; Bailey Wolfe, Liberty Lake WA; David Malenfant, Old Lyme, CT and Stuart King, Waynesville, NC our US Ambassadors for all their help. Each of you gentle souls served all the children.
None of these rewarding experiences for the children would been possible without our caring sponsors. Large or small contributions count as well as those who donated uniforms, equipment and prizes. They were with us in spirit as we made those six days the very best they could have been for those almost forgotten children.
Deepest thanks to the California Association to Aid Ukraine (CAAU) for serving as the Lead sponsor and to the Self Reliance (NY) Federal Credit Union as a contributing sponsor, and they have been strong supporters all these years.
Others who helped in making these children feel special include the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America - Philadelphia Branch; United Ukrainian American Relief Committee of Philadelphia; Ukrainian American Sports Center at TRYZUB, Horsham PA; Ukrainian Homestead at Lehighton PA; Ukrainian Baltimore Festival, Ukrainian Youth Association - Ellenville NY; Peace Corps - Ukraine; Ms. Roxolana Horbowyj; Walter & Christine Syzonenko; Robert Till, former Peace Corps volunteer in Ukraine; Charles Christolon; Fr. Ivan Kaszczak, Pastor of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church; Ihor Jadlickyj and so many others who purchased Ukrainian sports souvenirs. Thank you so much for your support.
Little League Pledge
I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best
Well this pledge was put to the test during this 5th Championship. According to Little League pitching rules any child 11 or 12 yrs old may only throw a maximum of 85 pitches per game. If that total is reached,
then four days of rest is mandatory. That child may play another position, but may not pitch. The local team used a player on Wed who threw his 85 throws and then was removed, and since we play only five days, he was in effect done as a pitcher for the Championship. That Saturday after the two days of rain, games resumed. The local team was on the field and their pitcher was warming up. Morgan, our scorer, was confused because the pitcher was the same one who threw the maximum of pitches on Wed, was declared ineligible, but was now wearing a different uniform. What to do? I made the players change to their correct uniforms, and the game began. After lunch and before their next game, I gathered up all the players and the coaches and attempted to find out who tried to subvert the rules. The children said nothing yet their eyes were directed towards the coach. I sent the children back to the dug out and questioned the coach. He denied any wrong doing. He said that the children had put on the incorrect uniforms. His response was unacceptable. I did not believe him.
The old Soviet mantra results, results, results before you get funding is still alive in Ukraine, even in internats for orphan children. Winning at any cost is most important in that world. Cheating and deceiving to reach that goal was attempted here. This is not acceptable in the Ukraine Little League baseball program. I, the sponsors and volunteers all agree that participation, playing by the rules and learning to work side by side with team mates to reach a goal is the paramount message during our Championships. These are lessons in life that each child should learn and be exposed to through team sports. As the motto states, “win or lose I will do my best”.
That is what we are all about. That coach will be dealt with using Little league rules. His actions were totally out of sync with the Ukraine Little League philosophy. By the way, his team did not win the Championship.
In my closing remarks, I reminded everyone, children and coaches as well that the umpires, staff and all the sponsors came here from across the ocean because we care about every child here. The hope is that as every child grows older that the child will hopefully look back at this time and remember that someone truly cared for them. And in turn, show the same concern for another child or individual. That will always be our hope.
So friends, another Championship has been held in Kremenets, Ternopil Oblast. Feel free to contact me with your comments and suggestions. If you care to join us next year or hear of sponsorship opportunities please let me know.
Summer of 2012 Ukraine LL baseball news. During the period May 29 - June 1, the 13th Ukraine Little League Baseball Championship was held in Nove Celo, Kirovograd Oblast. Six all- star teams from schools in Ukraine competed to right to represent Ukraine at the European Regional Championship in Kutno, Poland. The teams were from Rivne, Illichivsk, Kirovograd, Ternopil, Donetsk and Chernivtsi. The final game pitted Rivne and against the host LL, Kirovograd. Kirovograd won easily 15 - 4 to move on to the regionals.
In Kutno, 12 LLs representing their country competed in two groups of six in round robin play. These were not National teams but rather local teams which won their respective country championship. Games were held July 20 - 28. Ukraine lost their first two games to England 1 - 4, then to Germany - USA 0 - 13 falling to last place in their group. Then Ukraine got on a roll defeating Italy 5 - 4, Hungary 7 - 6 and then Serbia 7 -3, that’s three in a row. Ukraine finishes with a 3 - 2 record and third place in group play.
On to play offs, first up is Belarus, second in group B, Ukraine comes out on top 4 - 2. Onto the semifinals where Ukraine must again face the US kids from Germany. It was not meant to be, Ukraine scored 4 runs, not enough, Germany - USA had 7 players cross home plate. Germany - USA would eventually win the Regionals and move on to Williamsport, USA.
Ukraine is out. Yet one more game for third place would be held. This time Italy defeats the boys from Kirovograd 9 - 5. Thus Ukraine finished in fourth place in Europe. A wonderful accomplishment. Fourth out of twelve. Wait till next year.
Congratulations to our young men. And thanks to the Self Reliance (NY) Federal Credit Union for being the lead sponsor of the Ukraine Little League Baseball program for boys and girls from schools. In addition, most of the travels costs of our Ukraine team to and from Kutno was provided the generous grant from Self Reliance (NY). Many thanks from the boys and girls for being there all these years in sponsoring the Ukraine LL Baseball program.
So you want to know more or want to help. Please contact me. Thanks
Hello friends. Wishing you and your children and their parents and friends the best New Year in 2012.
It is possible that this year we will hold ONE Championship for children ages 10 - 12. I will confirm this as soon as we agree on all points.
This action will save each team money, one Championship when we combine Ukraine Juvenile Championship with the 13th Ukraine LL Championships.
So:I will continue to pay for the cost of meals of all the teams for FOUR DAYS.
Please register each team each year...this is a LL RULE.
Please note that LL this year is asking that each team pay $13 or about 100 Hrv. This money is NOT for me....please pay this amount when i see you.
Please e mail me the rosters of all your teams with addresses and ages in MM/DD/YYYY form of each player , example........04/23/1999. ( you may add players until May 1, please e mail me any added players.
Only players on your roster as of May 1 of 2012 can play on your tournament team. I will have with me printed copies of all your rosters. EACH PLAYER THAT YOU BRING WITH YOU MUST BE ON THOSE ROSTERS. NO YOUNGER NOR OLDER PLAYER CAN BE ON YOUR TEAM.
Please note that the official age of the player is the age on April 30 of 2012. If that boy or girl is 11 or 12 years of age ON THAT DAY, the child is allowed to play for the championship. If that player is 10 or 13 on that day THAT CHILD MAY NOT BE ON YOUR TEAM.
PLEASE BRING ALL NECESSARY DOCUMENTS WITH YOU.
THIS IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EACH PRESIDENT TO CHECK.
Please e mail me a schedule of 12 games or more for EACH team.
Please e mail me name of President of your league, full mailing address, city index, mobile #.
Please e mail requests for interleague play as soon as possible.
PLEASE CONTACT VITALIY LIZOGUBENKO OR OLEH BOYKO WITH ANY QUESTIONS.