BB: DP Little League celebrates playing at Girsh Park

It was a beautiful scene.

The sun was shining, the temperature was mild, the players’ baseball pants were free of grass and dirt stains, the colors of their jerseys were bright and vivid — red for the Reds, Cardinals and Angels, black for the Giants, orange for the Mets, green for the Athletics, blue for the Dodgers, Royals and Cubs …

Dean Brunner, who has done just about everything for the Dos Pueblos Little League from 1982 to 1994, threw out the ceremonial first pitch to his grandson, Jackson Stetler. Longtime volunteer and coach Rick “Buddy” Wolen belted out his “Charge” chant to the cheers of the nearly 300 players and their parents.

It was all part of Opening Day festivities for DP Little League at Girsh Park on Saturday.

DP Little League is one of the major reasons Girsh Park was created, said Ryan Harrington, executive director of the Girsh Park Foundation.

“Lester Girsh said the Little League was a huge inspiration for them to create Girsh Park in the first place,” Harrington said.

There are 27 teams and nearly 300 kids playing in the league this season.

Before the park was built, the league’s facility was located where the Costco parking lot is today.

Brunner remembers those days.

“My father took care of those fields for several years,” he said. “Chasing gophers, as he called it, because we had lots of gophers out there.”

Dr. Dan Brennan, the league’s executive vice president, played his Little League games on the old fields. Today, he coaches his sons on the groomed Girsh Park diamonds.

“This park is great and they’ve been wonderful to us,” he said of the Girsh Park Foundation.

And the foundation wants to do more. It’s launched a Fields Forever 3 fundraising campaign for the construction of a permanent fieldhouse that will include a concession stand, bathrooms and storage area. Funds will also go toward building lighted walking paths, improving the batting cage and a playground area.

The fundraising goal is $600,000.

“We need you to spread the word,” Harrington told the crowd at Opening Day. “We need to find foundations and funders to help us get to our goal.”

DP Little League has donated $10,000 to the project and the Girsh and Hochman families have kicked in $150,000.

“I know in a lot of places baseball is dying, but in Goleta it’s very healthy,” said Brennan.

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