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Bennett's Creek Little League

- - ID# 03460611

Bennett's Creek Little League - - ID# 03460611

President's Corner

PRESIDENT’S REPORT  September 21, 2020

In Accordance with the 2020 Operating Manual, this President’s report is available to all general members.

         Bennett’s Creek Little League (BCLL) is a chartered Little League affiliate under Little League International.  BCLL is in Virginia District 6, which includes all Little League’s in the City of Portsmouth (Cavalier Manor, Charles Peete, Churchland, Craddock, Olive Branch, and Wilson) and Chesapeake (Chesapeake and Western Branch Softball).  District 6 falls under Southeast regionals for Little League US. 


We are a non-profit volunteer organization that provides Suffolk and surrounding community a place for our youth to learn and play baseball and softball.  BCLL jurisdiction covers most of the City of Suffolk (23432, 23433, 23434, 23435, 23436, 23437 and 23439 a small portion of Chesapeake (by Pughsville Rd) and the City of Smithfield in Isle of Wight County (as they do not have a Chartered Little League group out there).  BCLL has been in existence for over 52 years.  BCLL was founded in 1968 by Ken Parsons Sr and Lankey Didine.  Most of the 52 years, BCLL has played on the fields behind Driver Elementary School, in the Driver section of Suffolk, VA.  We currently own/MOU with SPS for our 5 fields, and grounds.  We pay all utilities (minus water), which puts us as the only league in VA-D6 that pays bills for electric, phone and field maintenance (preventative and corrective).  We rely heavily on local sponsorships, our concession stands sales and our registration fees to keep up with these expenses.  We also have the standard Little League Charter fees, which includes insurance, as well as District fees.


As mentioned, BCLL has been operating for over a half of century.  Current parents and even grand-parents of our active players have also enjoy play as a child at BCLL, on the same fields.  Over the years, BCLL has seen growths and declines and re-growth.  In the last 10 years, BCCL has seen a steady of players from the Tball division up towards the Baseball (BB) and Softball (SB) seniors division.   In the last fifteen years, BCLL has won numerous All-Star Tournaments (District 6 Championships), which leads us towards State tournaments.  The last few State tournaments, BCLL was very close to winning State, which would have led us towards Little League Regional Tournaments.  This event is televised as part of the Little League World Series.  Bennett’s Creek Little League would have represented the Commonwealth of Virginia in a SE tournament, wearing our BCLL colors of Maroon and Gold.  The realm of possibility still exists that this can happen in the near future.

We have been blessed with great managers, coaches and board members.  Some of our coaching staff has been with us for almost 30 years.  Numerous players have gone onto playing HS Varsity Baseball for Smithfield HS, Kings Folk HS, Lakeland HS, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and Nansemond River HS.  A few years ago, Nansemond River HS won the Virginia State Championship.  More than 70% of those players matriculated from BCLL.  One in particular was a player named Brandon Lowe.  He now plays for the MLB Tampa Bay Rays.  Recently, a TV article from WTKR-3 Sportscast was done on him shouting out BCLL as his starting point in his baseball career.  Many others have gone on to play College Baseball (some on scholarships) and some to minor league MLB affiliates.


BCLL has 5 fields on the Driver complex; 1 TBall field, 1 BB/SB Coach/Machine Pitch field (lighted), 1 BB Minors field (lighted), 1 BB Major/Intermediate field (lighted) and one SB Minors/Majors/Juniors/Seniors Field (lighted).  BCLL BB Juniors and Seniors division does not have a field on the Driver Complex.  We use the field (dimensions 60ft pitcher’s mound to home plate and 90ft from base to base) at John Yeates Middle school.  We also shared that field with Nansemond Pony League (a non-little league affiliate) as well as competing schedules in the fall with Nansemond Pop warner Football.  The past five years, BB Juniors/Seniors division was forced to play at the Wilson LL complex in Portsmouth as a practice and home field due to no availability in the City of Suffolk, in which we represent.

BCLL has enjoyed numerous teams over all divisions of play for both the fall instructional season) and spring (competitive season).  As we see our great City grow, we also see our league growing with more players, more teams and more solid divisions.  This equates to the goal of bringing home championship banners at the District, State and Regional levels.  One could hope for a National title, but instead of hoping, let’s plan for it!

Our vision is simple:

1.   The safety of or players and coaches is number one priority.

       o   That is the level of play, development, equipment and field conditions.

2.   Ensure everyone (players, coaches, parents and friends of BCLL) is having fun!

       o   Regardless of team records (wins or losses), and/or the player’s ability, are they having fun?  Do they enjoy (with their supporting family cast)                       softball/baseball and playing the American’s pastime sport?  Our goal is they are and come back for more.  We welcome old and new BCLL                           family members.   We cherish all that play here and love to see their smiles when they get a hit, grab a ball fielding or just run into victory!

3.   Player’s Development.

        o   Our players will be safe and have fun if they learn a little each practice, game and season.  It does not happen overnight, however, with the                           proper training to our coaches and assistants towards our players, you will see the difference over a single season.  I can promise you that!

4.   Win!

       o   Bennett’s Creek Little League is an approved little league charter under VA-District 6, within the SE Region of the United States.  We have                           enjoyed the benefits of championship banners over our 52-year tenure in Suffolk.  Both Softball and Baseball have gone onto winning numerous               district titles and represented the 757 in state level competition.  I am certain that with the visions mentioned prior, we will someday be in a                       little league world series.  Rome was not built in a day and it takes the dedication of our staff, family and our community (through fund-raising                     and donations) to achieve such goal.  Help us win!  

ere is our growth goals for BCLL:

Here are some new items we are looking into for the next calendar (Spring/Fall 2020 season) year:

·       Intermediate League (Baseball)

o   This bridges the gap from BB Majors to BB Juniors.  It includes players from ages 11-13, with the mindset of moving our talented BB Minors players up to BB Majors to instill the realism of baseball and the playing rules.  It also allocates BB Majors players (9-12) to also play (double) in the BB Intermediate league (if so desired) to enhanced development on a 50/70 field of play (50 feet from the pitcher’s mound to the plate and 70 feet from base to base) vice the standard Minor/Major 40/60.  It also trains new 13-year-old Majors alumnae to see a larger playing field to prepare for the 60/90 scope of play in the Junior/Senior Model.  We, along with three other District 6 leagues are finalizing a plan to execute a charter for the 2020 season to make this happen.  More to follow on the final steps as we warp-up our planning/steering committee on this topic.

·       Field improvements

o   Our fields take a beating during the rainy season and the winter months.  We are actively perusing advanced methods on field maintenance (corrective and preventive) to produce an outcome that will have our fields in the best condition ever.

·       Recruitment

o   Bennett’s Creek Little League covers the jurisdiction (boundary lines) for the entire city of Suffolk, to include sections of Isle of Wight Country (Smithfield) and surrounding areas (due to the lack of Little League sanctioned baseball in those areas).   BCLL geographic boundaries are twice that of the entire District 6 leagues combined.  With that said, we need to get the word out from the northern section of Suffolk to the NC border, to the western portions of 58 towards Franklin, over towards the downtown area.  BCLL proudly represents the City of Suffolk and wants all those that live in this great city to know who we are, what we stand for and come join us!

·       Fund-raising/Donations

        o   In order to do everything mentioned, we need additional funding.  Bennett’s Creek Little League Softball and Baseball is a non-profit organization.  We already have proud sponsors (see our website) within our city, but need many more.  It takes additional funding to improve our fields, fix our score boards, repair our field lights, pay our bills (electric, insurance, umpires, etc.) and grow with those improvements.  Our growth will make us stronger with increased numbers at registration, player’s development, better and safe fielding conditions, our players and families enjoying such improvement (a happy player is always good) leading towards a developed all-round all-star Softball and Baseball player. 

·       Player’s and Coaching Clinics

        o   We develop players that go on to HS varsity teams and college scholarships.  BCLL has even matriculated some MLB players so we have the                        ability to continue that process.  As we head towards the winter months, we will be opening (for those that early register) player’s clinics at all                    divisions and levels in the art of:  batting, base-running/stealing, throwing, fielding and pitching.  To start, we need to train the trainers.  We will                  have coaching clinics throughout the year to better our BCLL volunteers in the art of Softball and Baseball.  Through outside organizations and                within our own, we can achieve this objective starting in a few months to grow and develop all into champions!  Let us continue that trend (and                  even grow on it)!


·       COVID-19 Mitigations and League Safety Plan

         o   With the recent pandemic, we suspended all operations in the spring until the Governor allowed youth sports to resume.  After much planning                   and deliberation, we were able to come up with a solid, CDC paralleled league safety plan (which was the model for most of D6 leagues).  We                       ran a summer 2020 league and implemented such plan.  We are happy to announce that it worked well with no issues or concerns.  As some                        families hesitated to register for the summer season, most found that the safety plan worked well (and we may some adjustments as we                                learned  along the way).  The results was an increase of registration numbers for our 2020 fall season.  BCLL takes COVID-19 and the safety of                  all players, coaches, staff and spectators seriously.


Here is our vision over the next ten years:

As we see a growth in housing, businesses and the overall expansion of our great city, we also see growth within our city’s little league. BCLL covers a great margin of square miles over the city of Suffolk, Smithfield and Chesapeake.  As the largest league is District 6, we plan to expand our league, based on Suffolk’s growth over the next decade.   Military families have found the City of Suffolk a prime place to live as a quality of life, schools and infrastructure selling point.  As numerous stores and restaurants are being built, we are already seeing the expansion of houses, condos, and apartments sky-rocket.  Suffolk Public Schools has also seen a growth of students, resulting in the building of new Elementary schools to capacity (Florence Bowser) and Col. Fred Cherry Middle School in the Northern section of the city.  New businesses, such as Amazon and others in the Nansemond River Pky. and other sections of the city have drawn newcomers to Suffolk to start their lives and families in a great American dream town. 

With new families comes new kids.  With new kids come community activities.  This leads to us expanding to meet up with the ever demanding growth of our city.  We see this as a huge win for all and look forward to growth and service to our community.


·       More Fields:  As the city works the future concerning the Driver Elementary school and other potential recreational parks, we look forward to working with the city of Suffolk and other stakeholders in the development of more fields for our Softball and Baseball divisions.  This would include:

        o   Additional SB fields (2-3 more)

        o   Additional BB Minor/Majors fields (1-2 more)

        o   BB Intermediate 50/70 field

        o   BB Junior/Senior 60/90 field

We need the City of Suffolk and/or SPS to assist us in this requirement.  The future of Driver Elementary School lot could bring this requirement with a city park/field expansion. 

·       Continue to increase our recruitment numbers by 50%.

        o   BCLL is continuously works this requirement as our city grows by advertisements, social media and other means.

·       Increase fundraising/Non-profit donation revenue by 70%.

        o   This is an on-going process that has done well for our 2020 season.  We continue to work with our community to work sponsorships and field                    banners for our non-profit organization.

 ·       Win district titles and be a contender in the State Championships (SB/BB all qualifying divisions).

·       Win State title and head to the Little League World Series (SB/BB all qualifying divisions).


         o   Sounds easy; not really, but with the plans describe, the dedication of our current BOD and coaches, community support and growth, this is                        achievable.

In closing, we seek our beloved community in helping us grow together.  BCLL is a non-profit, all volunteer league that does it for the love of the game, our players and families and our great community.  Please allow us to continue such service by allowing us to work together to grow our youth sports for an enriched and prosperous institute of learning for youth activities for another 52 years and beyond.   


Mark D. Grob


BCLL Softball and Baseball

“We are Bennett’s Creek!”