KLL kicks off new season with thrills League now boasts 31 teams and 400 players, says Boujarwah

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 12: US Ambassador Matthew Tueller, Sheikh Dhari AlSabah and David Werry of Harvard University took turns to throw the first pitch at a ceremony marking the opening of the Kuwait Little League (KLL) 2012/2013 Baseball and Softball Season on the Sheikh Fahed Al-Ahmad A-Jaber Al-Sabah baseball fields at the Hunting and Equestrian Club in Subhan on the cold winter Friday morning.

The ceremony held under the auspices of Sheikh Dhari Ahmed AlJaber AlSabah Chairman of the Hunting and Equestrian Club and the Baseball and Softball Committee saw lots of prominent guests attend including US Ambassador Matthew H. Tueller, KLL executives Saoud AlAyoub,President, Dr. Abdulazeez Boujarwah District Administrator and Mercy Boujarwah Safety Officer among countless others. There was also a three member team from the Harvard Business School led by David Werry in attendance.

Prior to the start of the ceremony, all coaches lined up their teams at the front gate in preparation for the ceremonial parade which followed after the national anthems of Kuwait and the United States were played to be followed by the color guard.

Announcing recent improvements to the KLL facilities, Mercy Boujarwah stated that the league now boasts 31 teams and 400 players in all with improvements in facilities on the fields that include new scoreboards on all three fields, brand new bathroom facility, dugouts and grass as well as permanent fencing on all fields.

Five children bearing five different national flags represented the color guard reciting the KLL Pledge in five different languages. KLL boasts players from over 20 different nationalities and to represent the international nature of the league the Little League Pledge was recited in five different languages that included Arabic, Afrikaans, Sabaha-Indonesian, Korean and English. The recitals were done by Abdulaziz AlAyoub, Sashin Palliam, Alif Pralangga, Jaewon Seo and Lulwa Al Sharrah.

Among some of the achievements of 2012, Mercy said last year the KLL Majors division team at the Middle East and North Africa tournament reached the championship level and had to faceoff against Uganda. They also went on to participate in the regional tournament in Kutno, Poland after outplaying Saudi Arabia to qualify for the tournament, their first ever defeat of the Saudi team to go into that tournament where they finished with just 3 runs shy of qualification to the world series in Williamsport. “We’re very proud of these players and coaches”, said Mercy Boujarwah.

The creation of the Challenger division in the KLL league was among the KLL’s achievements of 2012. The Challenger division which was to enable boys and girls 8-13 years of age with physical and developmental challenges to participate in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. The children are given an opportunity to have a positive experience in playing in the baseball sport according to their individual abilities.

Players of the Majors team who were called and honored individually included Fahad Al-Ayoub, Hassan Sakkez, Jose Madrid, Grant Kerry, Zak Little, Yousef Koudan, Arlis Troutman, Aryaman Chough, Tareq Jaafar and Ashraf Khalil.  Leith Williams and Elijah Mundy, the two players who were not around, were also recognized. Abraham Carpio as head-coach assisted by Ron Troutman and Rob Little were also honored for an excellent job done.

 As a non-profit entity the league survives on volunteer work of coaches and sponsors. Sponsors who were called out for honors included Selem, represented by Mr. Abdulaziz, Bader Sultan & Brothers company, represented by Al-Zaben, Agility Logistics, Bioconservacion, Cuz Creations, Gloria Jeans Coffees, KEO, Kefan Optics, ASAR, Mimar, Police Eye Wear/Al-Noor Opticals, NBK, Al Atraf and Al Tamimi Law Firm.

The seven new additions to the list of sponsors included Curtis, Berlitz, Vitamin, Wataniya Telecom, Midas, Taco Bell and Fluor. Parents who in diverse ways made donations to KLL were also recognized. They included Emad Al-Zaben, Arlis Troutman, Yousef and Dana Kowdan, Faisal AlAyoub and Rob Little & Mariam Noor.

 A special tribute was paid to Sheikh Dhari Al-Sabah whose generosity and vision carried forward from his father Martyr Sheikh Fahad Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah made the use of the facilities possible.
Sheikh Dari Al-Sabah for his part expressed his gratitude for the huge attendance at the ceremony adding that “My doors are always open to address any issues relating to KLL I hope in the next tournament the kids are going all the way to the final to bring home the trophy”.

US Ambassador Tueller thanked the various business entities sponsoring the KLL and contributing to their successes. His special appreciation was however reserved for Sheikh Dhari Al-Sabah through whose magnanimity KLL had access to the current playing fields.

KLL entered the 2012 baseball season with the commissioning of their baseball facility which members and players especially viewed with pride in a year full of triumphs and tribulations for the organization.
 At the Dubai Tournament in 2012, KLL teams won every Division that had a champion; the Minors, the Juniors and Softball. And suddenly they were asked to leave their playing field on short notice. “It was a very tough time for us. While looking for a new field, we had two teams training for tournaments. We sent our under -14 team to the United States for a Cal Ripken Tournament and those kids won their Division” said Dr Abdulaziz Boujarwah.

“We were essentially homeless until Sheikh Dhari threw us a lifeline which provided us the much need land for our playing fields which we’ve rebuilt into a baseball/softball complex with even more enhanced facilities than our previous home play grounds”, added Dr Boujarwah.

Flanked by KLL executives Dr Abdulaziz Boujarwah, Saoud AlAyoub and Mrs. Mercy Boujarwah, Ambassador Tueller, Sheikh Dhari and Werry of the Harvard Business School took turns to throw the first pitch after which the 2012-2013 games were declared open for players to “Play Ball”.

By: Iddris Seidu Arab Times Staff

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