AYCC celebrated opening day for baseball and softball programs
by Mark Huard
The Alfond Youth & Community Center (AYCC), serving the Boys & Girls Clubs and YMCA of Greater Waterville, held a very special opening day for its baseball and softball program on Wednesday, April 26, at the Colby College Baseball Field. More than 200 kids, ages five to 12 participated, along with the Colby College baseball and Thomas College women’s softball teams. The first baseball pitch was thrown out by Waterville Interim Police Chief William Bonney while the first softball pitch was thrown out by Winnie Merrill (former softball player and former New York Yankees manager’s wife). AYCC CEO Ken Walsh paid tribute to “Mr. Baseball” Fran Purnell for his 50 years of volunteer service to the game. Waterville’s Purnell Wrigley Field – a 2/3 MLB licensed replica of Chicago’s Wrigley Field – is named for Purnell.
Waterville Alfond Youth Community Center CEO Ken Walsh said, “We are so pleased that Colby baseball under head coach Jesse Woods was willing to host our opening of the beautiful diamond for our kids. The kids were thrilled to meet the Colby baseball players and the coaches. I was please to see Chief Bill Bonney throw a perfect strike to start the season. It was sad that Fran Purnell could not be there for the first in 50 years due to his illness. If it wasn’t for him, Purnell Wrigley field would not be in use for so many of our boys and girls to play. Fran always said it’s better for these kids to be on the field rather than [on] the streets.”
Waterville Interim Police Chief William Bonney added, “Opening day for baseball is such an exciting time because it marks the coming of summer and it get kids out on the field engaging in one of our most time honored treasures, baseball. I enjoy our community partnerships and I was honored to be asked by the AYCC to throw out the first pitch.”
The Alfond Youth & Community Center (AYCC) is the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization responsible for operating the only merged Boys and Girls Club and YMCA in the United States. Based in Waterville, Maine, the AYCC serves more than 8,000 members annually — including more than 5,000 youth members – through a comprehensive range of youth and community-focused programs, including childcare and afterschool programs, wellness, fitness, aquatics and summer camps. Learn more or donate at www.clubaycc.org.