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updated: 6/21/2014 6:21 PM

Antioch Youth Little League celebrates 60 years with Saturday event

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  • Antioch Youth Little League players receive trophies in 1988.

      Antioch Youth Little League players receive trophies in 1988.
    Courtesy of Erin Glassman

  • A 1982 photo of a team in the Antioch Little League.

      A 1982 photo of a team in the Antioch Little League.
    Courtesy of Erin Glassman

  • This is a historical photo from the Antioch Youth Little League.

      This is a historical photo from the Antioch Youth Little League.
    Courtesy of Erin Glassman

By Megan Swindell

It has been 60 years, and Antioch Youth Little League is still at bat.

AYLL -- Antioch Baseball and Softball is celebrating its 1954 debut on Saturday at Williams Park, where the program's very first pitch was thrown.

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"It started out as just a little celebration," said Erin Glassman, committee member for the anniversary. "Now, it's really turning out to be a big deal."

The event runs from 2 to 9 p.m. with a carnival under the pavilion. Throughout the day, everyone from the kids to alums will play in organized games, with a home run derby and live music in between the games.

For generations, Antioch families have brought their children to play America's pastime in the same program where some of their grandparents played, organizers said.

"One of our player's grandparents actually played on a team in 1954," Glassman said.

One man, who is being honored at the celebration, may know that field better than anyone.

"I played, coached and now I umpire," said Doug Lang, head umpire for AYLL. "It has been a true dream for me."

Lang, 68, said he started playing when he was in fifth or sixth grade and his dad was the president of the program at that time. He describe his experience with the game as a love affair -- one he cannot let go of yet.

"I'd like to come back for one more year," Lang said. "I look forward to it. If I could talk my wife into coming back for one more year, I'll do it."

Glassman said Lang will be honored at the celebration for 34 years of involvement with the league.

Over the years, the program has grown into a three-tier system. It is made up of in-house, all-star and travel programs.

"I think the biggest thing about the program is that I would like to keep the kids playing ball in Antioch," Glassman said.

In all, more than 400 boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 14 make up AYLL.

A free throw contest, a dunk tank and the home run derby will each cost $1 to participate. Those interested in participating in the home run derby can register upon arrival.

"All monies raised are going back to the league and will go toward future improvements," Glassman said in an email.

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