Future of baseball is strong in southeast Wisconsin in local youth teams

Numbers holding strong for local teams
Posted at 6:56 PM, Apr 03, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-03 19:56:52-04

The clink of the bat is an unmistakable sound of summer.

In Shorewood, the Little League teams will soon be taking to the fields for practices and games.

Twelve-year-old Henry Lien has been playing Little League since he was five, and he says he loves playing against his friends.

"Whenever I'm playing first or second base and they're on base right next to me, I have a little chat with them,” he said. “It's pretty fun."

His dad, Mark, coaches and said his main concerns are his kids enjoying the game, and are they having fun.

"Are they going to make the majors? Who knows?” he said. “We always go there and hope. But is it the best summer of your life? That's what I'm hoping for."

Doug Stansbury, who's in his ninth year with the Shorewood Little League, said baseball is doing well locally.

"In fact when I was counting the enrollees this year I noticed we were up a little from last year so we've held pretty steady for a number of years. We feel pretty good about that."

Numbers are also holding strong for travel leagues like the North Shore Whitecaps.

Director of Coaching Jeffrey Schuurmans is in charge of organizing tournaments

"There's so many local teams that it's really nice to be able to schedule tournaments that are close with good competition," Schuurmans said.

He said one of the main differences between little league and a travel team is coaching.

"For us, we have a lot of coaches that have played college baseball and have really good experiences with the game," he said.

Betsy Wyatt's sons Parker and Connor both love playing little league and being on a travel team, but they chose a travel team because they were looking for more of a challenge.

"I just think if you have a child that really expresses interest in a sport like baseball doing a travel team or select team is just a great way to go," Wyatt said.

No matter which league parents choose for their child, there is no doubt both leagues teach lifelong lessons.

"That's kind of our goal is to create good human beings," Schuurmans said.

"You can learn a lot of lessons from baseball," said Henry Lien. "Teamwork is inevitable. You can't avoid teamwork in baseball."

Be sure and watch TODAY'S TMJ4 on Roku! We are the only station in Milwaukee to provide the latest news, weather and sports on the device. Search for us on Roku today!