The Lincoln Saltdogs and the former Lincoln Little League baseball program announced a new affiliation on Thursday, rechristening Lincoln’s youth baseball program as the Junior Saltdogs League. In addition to allowing its name to be used by the former Lincoln Little League, the Saltdogs will vastly expand their support and promotion of youth baseball in the city.
“The Saltdogs have always been a proud supporter of youth baseball in Lincoln,” said Saltdogs President Charlie Meyer. “We’re happy to be able to step in and provide a partnering arrangement that can only lead to bigger and better things for children in Lincoln who love to play baseball.”
The Junior Saltdogs League had been called Lincoln Little League since 1991, but they chose to end their affiliation with the National Little League last fall because they had outgrown the population restrictions that the NLL requires for each division. “With over two thousand youth ready to begin the 2008 baseball season in just a few weeks, we are very excited about this new relationship,” said Dina Euler, President of the Junior Saltdogs League. “We have been working with the Saltdogs for the past several years, so this is a natural fit for both organizations.”
“This new relationship provides a long-term solution and stability for the youth baseball programs in Lincoln,” said Saltdogs General Manager Tim Utrup. “Our goal is to increase the participation level of youth baseball in our community, and spearhead the growth of the Junior Saltdogs League.”
The Junior Saltdogs will continue to operate with its own board of directors, and the Lincoln Saltdogs will help promote the JSL in a wide variety of areas, including a link on the Saltdogs team website; appearances by Saltdogs players, coaches and Homer, the Saltdogs mascot; a prominent mention in the game program; and radio spots during all Saltdogs games on 1240 AM KFOR. In addition, the Saltdogs will expand their participation in the fundraising efforts for the Junior Saltdogs. The JSL will also launch a new website, www.juniorsaltdogs.org.
The Junior Saltdogs League was founded in 1957, and was originally named after the Lincoln Chiefs minor league baseball team, which operated until 1961. They kept the “Little Chiefs Club” name until 1991. The JSL provides baseball programs for children 5-to-17 years of age, and includes introductory baseball (T-ball and coach pitch), advanced recreational and competitive baseball divisions, a Challenger division for handicapped children and youth, and a Saltdogs division for under-14s with more games, no travel and less expense than traditional “travel teams.” In 2007, the Junior Saltdogs League experienced it highest-ever registration, with over 2,250 registered players.
The Saltdogs begin the 2008 season on May 8 at Pensacola, with the home opener set for May 16 against the Pelicans. For team and ticket information, go to www.saltdogs.com