Amid ideal spring weather conditions, the 2019 Fort Belvoir Little League baseball season began with opening day ceremonies, Saturday at Bill Behring Baseball Fields on South Post.

With caps waving high, hundreds of uniformed players, representing every age division, took to the field and lined up with their coaches and teammates to usher in another installment of the national pastime.

Jerry Arrington, Child and Youth Services sports and fitness director, hosted the event and began the ceremony by welcoming players, coaches and parents and thanking MWR coordinators and volunteers for their continued support of Fort Belvoir youth athletics. Special guests included Dave Strickland, Virginia Little League District 9 umpire and organization representative.

Arrington opened the event by thanking parents and volunteers for coming out for the teams this year, stressing the importance of youth sports in developing personal character and lifelong skills He then requested a moment of silence in honor of Bill Behring, Fort Belvoir’s former Little League commissioner who passed away in 2017 after serving the youth baseball program here for 45 years.

Arrington then turned the mic over to Aricka Vaughan, Fort Belvoir Little League president, who spoke briefly about the program and welcomed new players to the league.

“The number-one person here today are on the other side of the fence—the parents and volunteers who support this program,” Strickland said during his opening remarks. “Volunteers are the ones who make this game possible.”

Arrington closed the ceremony with a few personal words in remembrance of Behring.

“I knew Bill for 20 years—he was my right-hand man,” he said.

Arrington invited Strickland to visit each team to throw the ceremonial first pitch of the season to a player-representative of each organization. Smiles of excitement spread out on the players’ faces as he took turns stopping by every group of athletes, taking some time to shake hands and wish them a good season.

Mackenzie McLean, a junior at Mount Vernon High School, performed the National Anthem before a player from each team was selected by his coach to join his fellow athletes on the pitcher’s mound to participate in a recitation of the Little League Player’s Oath of Ethics, hosted by Collin Ross, a freshman varsity-team outfielder and pitcher with the MVHS Majors,.

The first regular-season matchups got underway following the ceremonies.

The Fort Belvoir Little League is comprised of military family member boys and girls ages 4-16 and is divided into six age-specific divisions — tee-ball (ages 4-6); machine pitch (ages 7-8); Minors and Majors (ages 9-12); and Juniors and Seniors (ages 13-16).

Regular season games are played Saturdays and one floating weekday (usually a Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday) at a variety of fields on and around Belvoir.

For information about the Fort Belvoir Little League, including game schedules and field locations, call Aricka Vaughan, 703-805-1258.