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CYB play begins
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The parking lot was packed, and cars lined the streets. Families gathered around Field 2 at the George Costa complex at Smyrna Park Saturday morning to watch their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, grandsons and granddaughters partake in Ceres Youth Baseball's opening day festivities. The celebration started at 8 a.m.

Brian England, CYB president, served as master of ceremonies. He introduced city and league officials, and coaches and players.

Zack Ryno caught the first pitch for baseball from Ceres Vice Mayor Lisa Mantarro Moore. Mikaela Stevenson threw out the first pitch for softball to former Ceres High standout and current CYB player Andrea Mathis.

Mikaela's father, Ceres Police Sergeant Howard Stevenson, was killed in the line of duty on Jan. 9. Zack's father, Ceres Police Officer Sam Ryno, was critically wounded during the ambush.

England, Mantarro Moore, council member Chris Vierra, Director of Ceres Parks, Recreation & Facilities Doug Lemcke, Ceres Rotary Club past president Mike Welsh, Arrowhead Club President Greg McMullen, Arrowhead executive board members Jami McMullen and Ken Lane, and CYB coach Mike Corsaut all participated in a ribbon-cutting ceremony prior to the start of a t-ball game on Field 5.

The city and CYB broke ground on the project in September. The field was finished on Friday.

It would have never been built if members of the community didn't contribute.

The Ceres Rotary Club gave $9,500.

CYB contributed $7,000.

The Arrowhead Club donated $5,000 for bleachers.

"We put a lot of time and energy into making it happen," England said.

Added Lemcke: "It was a collaborative effort."

T-ball games were played at neighboring Carroll Fowler School for the past 12 years.

"This is impressive because we have five fields at the same site," Lemcke said. "They've wanted to do this for years."

Said England: "If it wasn't for Mike, this wouldn't have happened. He was the driving force behind this."

Welsh praised Lemcke.

"Without the city saying okay, it wouldn't have happened," Welsh said.

More than 925 players, aged 5 to 18, signed up for CYB this year.

The league features 50 baseball and 30 softball teams.

"CYB has the best complex in the whole county," Welsh said. "It's beautiful." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier