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A Special Opening Day

Opening Day at a glance
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Members of 2003 Little League World Series team will ride a boat in this year’s parade on April 22 to kick off season

  Players from Saugus’ most famous Little League team, which finished second in the United States. and fourth in the world during the 2003 Little League World Series, will help kick off the upcoming season in style. They will ride in a makeshift duck boat in this year’s Opening Day parade, which is set to begin at about 10 a.m. Saturday, April 22. A backup date in the event of rain has been set for April 23.

  “This is the 20th year anniversary of Saugus going to the World Series, so we’re kind of making a big deal,” Saugus Little League Vice President Craig Smith told selectmen last week when he appeared to request the parade permit.

  “We’re bringing in the team from 2003. They’re coming in from all over the U.S.; they’re going to throw out the first pitch; so we’re really trying to decorate the field and make it a big event,” Smith said.

  Smith told selectmen he plans to make his 20-foot-long boat the centerpiece of this year’s parade – with as many of the 12 players who show up riding in the boat, which will be decorated with championship banners from that historic summer. The team’s coaches will ride inside the truck, and family members will walk alongside the boat as the parade winds its way from Anna Park Field, through Cliftondale Square, down Lincoln Avenue, down Central Street onto Hurd Avenue.

  Opening Day ceremonies will be held at the newly renovated Hurd Ave. Field, where the 2003 team will be the guests of honor. There will be a food truck and a DJ will play music to celebrate the start of the season.

  The 2003 World Series team: Ryan Bateman, Tyler Calla, Craig Cole, Anthony DiSciscio, Dave Ferreira, Tyler Grillo, Joe Kasabuski, Matt Muldoon, Yano Petruzzelli, Dario Pizzano, Mark Sacco and Mike Scuzzarella.

  Smith told selectmen that the league officials and volunteers have been working hard to get the fields in playing shape for the upcoming season, devoting up to 20 hours a week. “We spent a lot of money revamping the field at Hurd Ave.,” Smith said, estimating that it cost close to $30,000.

  “We’re fixing the field at Ana Parker to make it much more playable and safer for the kids,” he said.

  Rick Kasabuski, the father of Joe Kasabuski – one of the 12 players of the 2003 Saugus team, said he’s impressed with the hard work that Little League supporters have invested in the fields recently. “They deserve a pat on the back for revitalizing the fields and getting Little League baseball in the town headed in the right direction,” Kasabuski said.

  “It’s nice to see a place in town for kids to go on a summer night. The league has been doing a good job in getting the fields ready,” he said.

  Kasabuski has fond memories of that magical summer when he took some time out from work to follow the team and watch the players make local sports history. “It was an absolutely wonderful time to see the whole town come together as one – families and friends – and enjoy the townwide celebration,” he said.

  Kasabuski said he hopes to see residents throughout the community join in this year’s Opening Day for the Saugus Little League, much as they would for Founders Day. He displayed a draft copy of a flier to promote the event: “Spring has Sprung. Cabin Fever is over. Get out of the House! Join the Town of Saugus! Fun for all.”

THE 2003 SAUGUS BOYS OF SUMMER: A team photo of the dozen players who made local sports history 20 years ago by finishing runner-up in the United States during the 2003 Little League World Series. The team will be honored on April 22 during the parade and Opening Day Ceremonies for the Saugus Little League. (Courtesy photo to The Saugus Advocate)

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