FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska -- (July 12, 2012) Child, Youth and School Services ended this year's youth baseball season with food, festivities and of course, baseball games at their new youth sports and fitness complex July 9, which is the newly renovated Engineer Park, located just off Gaffney Road and behind Building 1001.

Kurt Nusshhe, Child, Youth and School Services Youth Sports and Fitness director said this was the first time they had a chance to play on the fields, and a grand opening seemed an appropriate way to end the baseball season. "We have this great new facility that's never been used," said Nusshhe. "It's great we can open it up and show it off to the rest of the base."

Parents, Families and friends had the chance to watch all nine youth teams play across the three new fields.

As the games played out, CYS Services personnel hosted a cookout providing hot dogs, hamburgers and beverages for the Families and their baseball players.

With fair weather, clean uniforms and new baseball fields to break in, parents got their last photos and videos of the season.

The teams were made of youth ranging in age from 5 to 14. The younger teams made up of 5 to 6 and 7 to 8-year-olds use a combination of coach-pitch, Tee stands and machine-pitch during the games and played against teams in the same age brackets. The "Astros" teams were older teams made up of 9 to 10 and 11 through 14-year-olds. These had a chance to play against their parents during the event.

"Our youth sports [program] is strictly a developmental league," Nusshhe said. Youth baseball started in May and kids were introduced to basic concepts of the game of baseball. Throwing, catching and batting made up the majority of the younger teams' practices.

"Making sure the kids are staying involved, learning and having fun of course," Nusshhe said, was the main idea. All coaches are volunteers and made up of Soldiers, parents, older brothers and sisters, and anyone 18 or older who wanted to help out.

Michelle Nevarez, wife of Sgt. Jaime Nevarez, 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division and mother of two T-ball players, Janyia, 5 and Jaleesa, 6, said, "It's all about the fun at this age." This was Jaleesa's second year playing and Janyia's first. Starting at the beginning of the season they practiced batting with the ball on the tee and by the end they were swinging at pitches from the coach. Nevarez looks forward to the upcoming soccer season which starts next week, as were her children.

As the games came to an end, coaches made sure every team player received a participation trophy and team photo, which were made available through CYS Services as the Fort Wainwright's youth baseball season came to an end.

Engineer Park, the new youth sports and fitness complex, boasts a running track, football field, two soccer fields and three baseball fields ranging in size from 45, 60 and 90-feet to accommodate the different age leagues. The grounds also have two pavilions.

Next week practice begins for youth Flag football, cheerleading and soccer.
For more information on registering youth for sports activities contact Parent Central Services, Building 1049, Apartment 2, or call 353-7713. To find out more about the youth sports and fitness complex call CYS Services at 353-7482.