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Lakeland Little League

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13

Sep, 2019

A Lakeland Legend Passes the Torch

Dear Lakeland Families,

 

I wanted to write to this letter to thank all of you for being part of our Lakeland Family and let you know that I greatly appreciate each and every one of you who make Lakeland a great organization!

 

This is not an easy letter to write but I wanted to inform all of you that the 2019 season was my last season as the President of Lakeland Little League.  Although I am not leaving the organization at this time, I will not be the President of the League.  Over the past year I have been transitioning out and our new President, Tony Green has been transitioning in.  Most of you know Tony personally or have seen him around this season, and for those of you who do not know him rest assured that I am confident that I am leaving our League in good hands! 

I have been with Lakeland all of my life, including playing for the O’s as a kid when I was just 9 years old (yes that was as young as we started back then and we played with kids 9-12 years old on the same team, man have the times changed).  I still give great credit to our League in how it influenced the baseball experiences in my life as a youth, a teen and into my 20’s.  After I was done playing, as an adult I came back to the League to give back to the game and our community.  Initially I transitioned into a pitcher and catcher clinic director in 2005.  In 2006, after a very persuasive conversation with our legendary President Wally Zirbel, I took a board position as the Safety Officer.  For quite a few years I was able to work on the player development side as well as the field project side of the organization.  Then in 2013 President Zirbel retired and our Board was forced into some changes.  Many people were forced to step up and carry on our League.  The person who took over Lakeland in 2013 should be the person who is authoring this letter today or at least I should not be writing it!  In 2013, Scott Schumacher took over as the President of Lakeland.  To say that Scott was a great President or a great Leader would be selling him short and frankly would not do him justice.  He was an extremely special person!  In the Fall/Winter of 2014 it became apparent that Scott would no longer be able to carry on as our President.  That is when I took over the as the President.  When we lost Scott on February 25, 2015, I realized that Lakeland was more than a League but rather a Family.  Parents in the League who never volunteered stepped up to put in their fair share.  While others who were already helping stepped up even more!  We took pride in our League and made many changes and improvements during my tenure (type of play/development and physically with the fields).  We undertook a complete rebuild of the Brightondale Complex (we altered the fields cutting the infields back to be able to play 50/70 transitional baseball, we changed the fences and put drainage tiles in).  We saw the rewards in the number of players registered and the success of our teams, whereby we continued our history of winning District and State Championships!  We saw the rewards of past players coming back to umpire or help at clinics or work in concessions!  (It wasn’t “If You Build It They Will Come,”  it was “If You Build It They Will Come Back.”)  After the Brightondale project we moved on to rebuilding Spencer Field on HWY 50 in Paddock Lake.  And now are finishing up the renovations at Salem Park!  These are only a few of the things that we accomplished in the past few years.  But the things that I am writing about are just summarizing a small bit or a chapter in the great long life of Lakeland Little League.  The chapter before (which I had just started with the League at its conclusion) outlines Wally Zirbel’s tenure and his efforts with Todd Peyron to build the Brightondale complex and our Concession Stand.  The chapter before that reads that Wally Zirbel coached a Lakeland team within 1 out of making it to Williamsport with only 10 kids on the team!  The stories are endless and that is one of the parts about Lakeland that is special – history!  I am blessed to be part of it as long as I have been.  

 

I know that some of you who will read this were there with me and I cannot express how much I appreciated every single one of you!  I am not going to sit and name everyone, only because I will miss someone and I would mean no disrespect but I have to thank Dana Gagliardi, my wife, who was extremely patient and understanding of my Love for the League and the Game of Baseball and the following: Wally Zirbel, Matt Mitacek, Andy Briggs, Kirsten Schulz, Andy Argersinger, Todd Peyron and Paulie Skora.  (I have two very special teams that I need to mentioned that are made up of Lakeland Stars and Lakeland Lazers who fueled and fuel my love for Coaching!) Special thank you to the boys and girls of summer!

 

I am hopeful that once again a new FIRE is ignited that leads to our Families volunteering and helping our League thrive with its new leader, President Tony Green.  Please come out and make a difference.  Our Board Elections are this coming Monday, September 16, 2019 at Central High School (room and time are posted on our webpage). 

THANK YOU all again for allowing me the privilege and honor of being the President of OUR great Lakeland Little League…Frank Gagliardi, Coach of the 12U Lakeland Lazers Softball and Safety Officer

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Lakeland Little League - Kenosha County Wisconsin - Started 1955

Lakeland Little League, 24414 75th Street
Salem, Wisconsin 53168

Email Us: [email protected]
Phone : 262-843-4234
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