Kevin Mannion has logged a lot of miles driving the tractor around East Lynn Little League’s Volunteer Field, but next season that job will go to someone new.
Mannion is in the midst of his 25th year with East Lynn LL. He began in 1990 when his oldest son, Jonathan Mannion, began playing T-Ball and he’ll wrap up the show this year when his youngest son, Luke, caps off his Little League career. Jonathan is now 31 and a Lynn firefighter. Luke and his twin sister Riley (a softball player) are sixth graders at Pickering Middle School. Sandwiched between Jonathan and the twins are sister Meaghan, 23, who also played softball for East Lynn, and brother Brendan, who played for his Dad. Brendan, 22, is on the Fisher College baseball team.
Mannion’s 25-year run would have been 26 years, but he did take 2007 off. That was the one year he didn’t have a child in the program. Brendan had graduated and Luke and Riley were a year away from T-ball. When Mannion first became involved in East Lynn, the field (then called Prunier Field) was still located adjacent to the old Manning Bowl and Fraser Field. Over the years his role has grown from coaching then managing at the minor league level to managing (the last 15 years) in the majors.
The best part, Mannion said, is teaching the game.
“I enjoy it. I’ll miss the kids and trying to teach them the fundamentals,” Mannion said, admitting that he even enjoys taking care of the field.
Although the all-star teams he has been involved with haven’t enjoyed much success in the District 16 tournament, his regular season teams have had some success. When his son, Brendan, was playing the team won back-to-back City Series titles in 2005 and 2006. Brendan, a Sonny Man Hill Award winner, is currently pitching for the Fisher College baseball team. Meaghan won the Grace Rogato Award as a graduating softball player.
These days Mannion is enjoying his final season as a Little League manager, which is a position he’s held for the last 15 years. His team, the Braves, are tied for first place and his son, Luke, already has four home runs under his belt.
Although some people tend to mellow as they get older, Mannion isn’t one of them when it comes to baseball.
“I try to take it more in stride, but sometimes I let my emotions get hold of me,” Mannion said.
Along with missing the kids, Mannion said he’ll also miss the adults he has met and worked with over the years. He’s quick to point out that several of the other guys also have a lot of years invested in the program. Jim Mitchell started at East Lynn around the same time Mannion did with his older son and like Mannion, he’s still there, although he doesn’t have a child in the program.