Dan Gisonno is a giant in this city’s youth baseball community. His three years of outstanding service as president of Pine Hill Little League – and seven years of involvement overall – allowed that organization to continue to provide an enjoyable and productive experience for young players in the Pine Hill section of Lynn.
Gisonno has earned his rightful place alongside other dedicated youth baseball and softball leaders who have volunteered countless hours to give Lynn kids a safe and enriching environment to learn the game and become better citizens of our community. The names of Jim Beliveau, John Kasian, Tony Luciano, Ryan Boisselle (who is also reportedly calling it a career as East Lynn president), Craig Whitcomb, Steve Scranton, Judy Bower, Steve Martin, Bob Couzzo and Jeff Earp come to mind as individuals who have done so much to help our baseball and softball players develop their skills and prepare for the next level of play.
So when Dan Gisonno talks about a citywide merger of our Little League organizations (Wyoma, West Lynn, East Lynn, Pine Hill, and Lynn Shore), his comments carry considerable weight and merit serious consideration by our leaders and District 16 administrator Joe Baglieri.
Gisonno notes the difficult plight of Lynn All-Star teams in trying to win the District 16 title while matched up against much larger organizations. This year’s Wyoma team was one of the best the city has fielded in years, but Peabody Western (who moved from District 15 to District 16) prevailed once again. We in no way want to diminish Peabody’s achievements and we salute the tremendous success the organization has enjoyed in All-Star tournament play – a run that includes a trip to the World Series in Williamsport in 2009 and the New England Regionals in Bristol, Conn. in 2006.
Now All-Star competition is just one aspect of the total Little League experience, but judging by the large crowds who attend the games and the incredible interest in the Little League World Series televised on ESPN – the Williamsport Tournament is a very exciting part of a Little League player’s experience.
We commend Gisonno for bringing the issue of Lynn All-Star teams’ competitiveness to light. He feels it’s time for a frank discussion about the future of Little League Baseball in Lynn and we agree.
We call upon one of the leaders in our youth sports community – perhaps our superb parks and recreation director Lisa Nerich is the person to do it – to assemble the Little League presidents and District 16 officials – and consider whether this city is offering the best experience possible for our players in the regular season and in the Williamsport Tournament.
Thank you, Dan, for your contributions to our youth sports community and for having the best interests of all our Little League players throughout the city in mind.