A massive crowd attended the Gilroy Little League closing ceremonies commemorating its 70th season May 21 at Christmas Hill Park.
The event essentially doubled as the Opening Day ceremonies since that event was rained out March 18. A total of 654 players—comprising baseball and softball and including 21 on the Challenger team—played in the recently completed spring season.
The all-star rosters for each competitive division were announced May 27. The boys and girls Senior Division tournaments start in early June with the rest of the other divisions beginning action in the following weeks.
Gilroy Little League is hosting District and Sectional play this summer. The organization is looking for 15- to 16-year-old girls for its Senior softball division. The closing ceremonies included a team parade, food vendors, inflatable interactive games and a dunk tank.
More notably, legendary softball figure Monica Abbott made a special guest appearance. Abbott, of course, prepped at North Salinas High before becoming a four-time All-American at Tennessee, where she set numerous NCAA records.
The left-handed pitcher went on to log a long career in the professional ranks and earned silver medals with Team USA at the 2008 and 2020 Olympic Games. Currently a motivational speaker and private coach/clinician, Abbott gave a speech before signing autographs and taking pictures with adoring fans afterwards.
“It was such an honor to have Monica Abbott in attendance for our 70th anniversary closing ceremonies,” Gilroy Little League President Al Castro said in a text message to the Dispatch. “She is such an inspiration to our little leaguers. Last year’s 2022 girls softball all stars in attendance had the opportunity to have Monica Abbott present them with their all star medals by placing each player with their medal around their neck and congratulating them on their accomplishments.”
Other notable parts of the festivities included the Gilroy Police Department having a K-9 patrol vehicle on display for the players to walk through. Additionally, the Gilroy police explorers passed out stickers and pencils.
Castro and Gilroy Little League Vice President David Lira delivered the introductory remarks, GLL VP of Softball Caroline Martinez and a group of T-ball players led the Little League pledge, along with an introduction of Little League District 59 District Administrator Tim McCullough.
In his remarks, Castro recognized the Gilroy LL Board of Directors for their indefatigable work ethic and dedication in volunteering their time to give back to the community. Castro also thanked the players, families, managers and coaches for their efforts in putting together “successful seasons” on a yearly basis.