KIMBERTON - The Kimberton Youth Athletic League (KYAL) held opening day ceremonies for its 60th year of operation on Saturday, April 5.
Some 700 boys and girls will be participating in baseball, softball and tee ball this year.
Fred Stoudt, who played at KYAL starting at age 10 after it first started back in 1955, was honored during the ceremonies. Stoudt is stepping down as an umpire after serving for 45 years in area Little Leagues and Babe Ruth Leagues in the Phoenixville/Kimberton and Spring-Ford areas.
Also honored were Bob Wagner, who is stepping down from the executive board; and Pauline Waltman, who is stepping down after directing the snack bar for two years. Each person received a special plaque from KYAL for his or her dedicated service and commitment to the league.
Stoudt said he has worked games at KYAL, Phoenixville Youth Babe Ruth League (PYBRL), Phoenixville Babe Ruth League (PBRL), Spring City Little League and Spring-Ford Babe Ruth League.
“I am a charter member,” said Stoudt. “Some of the guys who have been here were parents way back in 1950. Parents built the field in the spring of 1955. There have been different guys who have been through this league who were standouts.”
He recalled playing baseball with Joel Smiley, whose own father, Maurie, was one of the original workers. Later, Joel’s sons, Scott, Brett, Matt and Nate, came through the KYAL and Phoenixville baseball systems.
“I was getting gas one day,” said Stoudt. “A guy told me they need umpires. I got talked into it. That was when I came back, and I never left.”
Stoudt’s fulltime occupation was as an elementary school teacher in the Methacton School District. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch to open the season.
Rich Sim is still president at KYAL. Chuck McQuiston and Jim Phillips read all the names of league players and participants.
Members of the Phoenixville Area Middle School ensemble sang the national anthem.