The History of LYA
This is an outline story about men and women with vision who worked to make the place where they lived a very family-oriented community centered on children. Now we all enjoy the fruits of their labor and below is the story of how it all began, how it grew, where it is now and where it is going in the future.
The Phillies’ Tug McGraw (center) attending LYA Opening Day. In the front row are Uwchlan Township Supervisor Sam Matthews, Lionville Junior High Principal Walt Kottemeyer, and Little League District 23 Administrator Tony Mara
- Lionville Little League celebrated its 30th Anniversary and received citations from State Senate, the House of Representatives and Chester County.
- LYA opened its second major Little League Field in Lionville Park. – Evangelista Field E.
- LYA built two batting cages at Evangelista Field. ($16,000)
- Uwchlan Township, LYA and the DASD combined finances (over $45,000) to enlarge by 20 feet the new football/soccer/lacrosse field in Lionville Park to regulation game size because the original construction had the field too small for football and the fence too close to the field making it unsafe for play.
- Downingtown High School opened in September with a 300-space parking lot across from Lionville Park.
- Field B re-opened with a new 210-foot outfield fence and 20 foot backstop. LYA added two new batting cages and dugout covers ($18,000). DASD added new bleachers.
- Jim Harkins received Distinguished Citizens Award from Uwchlan Township.
- Eagle Project #12 – Brian Blanchard of Troop 220 built steps to new LMS ball field.
- Eagle Project #13 Alan Foose of 220 built a rock garden at lower parking lot entrance with rocks collected eroding from ball fields.
- New leadership in West Pikeland requested LYA credentials, mission statement, financial statement and roster of all West Pikeland residents. Efforts were made to limit LYA use of Pine Creek Park.
- LYA Wrestling Tournament celebrated 25th Anniversary – honored Clair Koser Sr. and Clair Koser Jr.
- LYA adopted a formal Code of Ethics.
- 6th grade Eagle Team at LMS donated 360 man-hours as a community service project to clean up Lionville Park
- Eagle Project #14- Kyle Weber – Troop 220 – built a rock garden at corner of Devon Dr and Rt. 113 with rocks eroding from the newly constructed football and baseball fields.
- Ryan McCloskey #15- Troop 220 cleaned up pavilion area of HS fields and landscaped entire area.
- Travis Parno #16 – Troop 216 built dugout covers at LMS ball field.
- LYA donated $8300 to build batting cage at D-town East High School baseball stadium field
- West Pikeland Task Force on new fields reported no other field space available in township and suggested that LYA return to Hallman or Montgomery Fields. LYA rejected this move for safety reasons. One supervisor threatened to bankrupt LYA. A late in the year restriction was passed by a retiring board to prevent further development of active recreation in Pine Creek Park.
- LYA and Uwchlan Township donated 6 shade trees ($1500) to Lionville Park to replace those demolished by DASD construction.
- Summer camps added cheerleading.
- LYA President Kevin Ryan is inducted into the PA Lacrosse Hall of Fame.
- LMS 6th grade Eagle Team returned to Lionville Park for 350-hour service project – in the rain but all work was completed.
- LYA honored Hometown Heroes – Fire, Police and Security – on Opening Day
- Summer camps added golf and football skills to roster.
- O’Neil Softball Tournament celebrated 20th Anniversary with 32 teams.
- “Kids helping Kids” food bank in its 6th year.
- Girls 10U Lightning took first ever LYA tournament championship. Coaches: Chuck Coker, Bill Wakelee, Jim Singel and Phil Raymond.
- 13-year-olds won District 28 Little League Tournament – Coaches: Bill LaBarge, Craig Engesser, Nick Altiero and Rick Maz.
- LYA spent $12,600 for electric scoreboards at Field E and Field B.
- Eagle Scout Project #17 – Mike Magee – Troop 220 built a paver patio and monument at entrance of Children’s Garden across from the park
- Eagle Scout Project #18 – David Brown – Troop 2 built a new storage shed at Field J.
- LYA hosted a Girls Lacrosse Shootout in June for 120 girls at Lionville Park.
- Boys Lacrosse U13A Team went undefeated (14-0) and won the Chester County Section Crown.
- West Pikeland elected new supervisors. Friends of West Pikeland Parks formed.
- LYA reassigned Travel Soccer from West Pikeland to Eagleview…replaced league with Girls soccer.
- LYA adopted a new policy on Criminal Background Reports and added safety policies, and code of conduct as addendums to Operations Manual.
- LYA current assets reached $275,000 with 110 teams in the spring and 112 teams in fall sports, 97 teams in basketball and 90 wrestlers.
- West Pikeland Park and Rec Board voted to grant LYA full use of Pine Creek Park Soccer fields as requested for lacrosse and soccer. New WP Supervisors accepted this recommendation.
- Bill LaBarge introduced LYA to its 10th sport and 11th program offering – Lionville Club Baseball – The Pride
- Kevin Ryan is still President. Steve Reber is serving his 5th term as Little League President
- 13 year olds win Dist. 28 tournament – Coaches: Bill laBarge, Craig Engesser, Nick Altiero
- Fields B and E got new electric scoreboards
- LYA adopted new policy on Coaches Background Checks
- LYA held first Annual Golf Outing in torrential rain storm.
- LYA Soccer celebrated 30th Birthday
- Kevin Ryan introduced LYA to its 11th sport = HS Girls Fall Lacrosse
- LYA applied and was granted an American Legion Baseball Franchise.
- LYA Twisters U9 Girls Travel Soccer took 1st place at Spirit Kick-off Classic
- Little League will add 11-year old International Team division in 2004
- Baseball held first annual Closing Day at Lionville Park – to put fields to bed for the winter
- Eagleview baseball field in Uwchlan Township opened.
- LYA adopted a NO REFUND POLICY – NO EXCEPTIONS – unless LYA cancels the program
- LYA Camps celebrated their 10th Anniversary – added new “all sport” camp and All Star Academy Camp
- Automatic Rain system installed at Hoffecker Soccer – shared $15,000 cost with UT and DASD
- A New Storage /PRESS BOX was built at Field E
- Foster Field got new dugout and high wall fencing
- Senior field Third Base fencing repaired/reinforced after damage by winter wind storm
- Lionville Legion Hillcats opened their home season on May 30th with big ceremonies – former coaches in attendance
- Jim Brown was awarded a LYA Lifetime Merit Award for his 28 years of service to baseball and the community.
- Club Baseball added a 4th team – 10U – Coach – John Stanzione
- Pegasus Club Softball held clinic for LYA softball
- LYA donated $8,000 Wrestling mat to DEHS.
- Acme donated $3,500 to Travel Softball
- Cindy Thompson named Softball Commissioner. Kathy Umberger named Soccer Commissioner.
- Eagle Scout Dave Redding #19 – Troop 216 repaired damage from erosion at football boulder bank
- LYA and DASD shared cost to repair one field behind the high school. $3,000.
- HS Varsity Soccer Teams hold Playday/Clinic in Lionville Park for LYA Soccer Teams.
- Eagle Project of Sean Lyver#20 – Troop 83 helped build storage shed at Senior Field and painted all the JOBOXES
- Field C was completely re-fenced. ($15,000)
- Dorothy Foster is presented a Distinguished Service Award from Tony Marra and LL District 23.
- LYA 2nd annual Golf Outing huge success in great weather.
Over $6000 was received in memorial donations for Coach Jim Tolley.
We also mourned the death of 20-year-old Brigid Narewski, former Softball Commissioner Bob McKee,
former Coach Tony Marra, former soccer coaches Joanne Stetser, Mark D’Angelo, Bob Campbell and our friend Addy Kelly.
- HS Cougar Varsity Squads in Lacrosse and Softball hold playday/clinics in Lionville Park for LYA teams.
- Jack Helm and Marie DiCecco threw out first balls at Opening Day.
- LYA got a Coyote decoy to chase the geese.
- 133 – LMS 6th graders, 12 parents, 5 teachers and 14 volunteers from Winners Circle celebrated Earth Day and planted 440 potted flowers in 11 park gardens. Flowers donated by the Kevin Meyer family.
- Lionville LL issued a Major League newsletter – editor Phil Nicolaides – LMS 8th grade and former LYA player.
- LYA canceled 23rd Annual O’Neil Softball Tournament.
- Lionville Little League Hosted Barrow and LL Sectional Tournaments in Lionville Park.
- Lionville Little League registered players in fall ball using the new International LL age change to April 30th
- Foster Field was completely re-fenced at 5 feet and taken off line in the fall for major infield renovations. ($10,000)
- LYA voted to offer Winter Training for baseball and softball at ALL STAR Academy.
- Little League International named Dorothy Foster 2005 International Volunteer of the Year. Two bus loads of LYA families attended ceremonies in Williamsport.
- The Lionville Legion Hillcats captured the Chester County American Legion Baseball Championship.
- Lionville Little League Won the 11-year-Old George Barrow Memorial Tournament District Title.
- The Premier Field Hockey Club Vipers held clinic for the LYA Field Hockey program.
- Lionville 10U Travel Softball team ended season…23-12-1
- Field E and Foster got new sound systems. ($1,000)
- LYA donated new flag pole to DEHS baseball field. ($500)
- New aluminum benches with backs installed on Senior Field ($4400)
- Eagle Scout Brett Mariani #21 – Troop 216 repaired damage from erosion at football boulder bank
- Wrestling celebrated its 30th Wrestling Tournament.
- Batting cages at Field B and Field E got new Batting cage nets ($3500)
- LYA Coach Dave Tolley Memorial Fund donated ($5500) for the home dugout at the HS baseball field.
- LYA mourned the loss of Coach Tony Buatti.
- LYA and LMS 6th grade Phoenix Team held 6th Annual Community Service Project Earth Day with 130 students, 14 parents, 14 volunteers from Winners Circle Grille, 2 Eagle Scouts and 3 HS students – 11 crews doing 11 cleanup and planting projects in Lionville Park.
- Bea Yoryzak and Richard Evangelista (son) throw out first balls of baseball season
- Hoffecker Soccer got a new scoreboard ($8650) and Field B got new electric lines to the shed area to more efficiently work their scoreboard. ($2400)
- LYA Board voted to offer on-line registration starting with fall basketball and wrestling.
- LYA co-hosted the LL International 12-year-old tournament, the John Snyder Memorial Big League Tournament and the first ever – Softball Mane Event Intramural Tournament.
- LYA designed and supervised the installation of new dugout covers at Senior Baseball Field ($4200)
- New commissioners appointed: Mike Ajjan-Basketball – Dave Mayes-Wrestling – Tim Streeter-Softball – Nick Silvano-Travel Softball – Eric Freud-Soccer – Lisa Marsh-Field Hockey
- West Pikeland buys Windolph Property for new park.
- LYA cancels Wrestling Tournament after 30 years.
- LYA registration went totally online with great success for all sports.
- Winners Circle Sports Grille donated $10,000 to LYA which will be used for a new scoreboard on Foster Field.
- In April – LYA and LMS 6th grade Phoenix Team held 7th Annual Community Service Project Earth Day with 130 students, 25 parents, 2 Eagle Scouts and 4 HS students – 11 crews doing 11 cleanup and planting (400 flowers) projects in Lionville Park.
- Celebrated 37th Opening Day of baseball and softball – LYA new American legion Coach Don Natale and Mrs. Boorman threw out the first balls.
- PA State Senator Andy Dinniman presented LYA with a $20,000 state grant check to build a new field area in Lionville Park…used for Project Level Playing Field..that added another field in the park, a 3rd batting cage at Foster Field for softball and paid for a lacrosse/soccer practice wall.
- Matt Hockenjos restored the LYA sign at Field C outfield for his Senior Project.
- Eagle Scout Dan Marbach #22 – Troop 216 installed a terraced garden at Foster Field and replaced the Lionville Park sign near the tractor shed entrance.
- LYA hosted the LL International 11-year-old tournament – playoffs, regionals and states, the John Snyder Memorial Big League Tournament and the 2nd annual – Softball Mane Event Intramural Tournament. Pride baseball held it first tournament in September
- LYA American Legion Hillcats won the Chester County Championship – 2nd time in 4 years.
- LYA U-10’s and U11’s Win District 28 Championship.
- Lionville Senior League won District 28 Championship and Fall Ball District Championship.
- James Kuhn spent 40 hours painting the LYA House as his Senior Project.
- Kevin Meyer received the LL Volunteer of the Year award, Pat Cameron and Teri Marsh were MOMS of the year and Kevin Boorman received the LL Good Sport Award.
- In September – LYA sent LYA/WP families a letter warning of need for fields in WP to continue participation.
- West Pikeland supervisors voted 3-0 for new half field and new regulation field in PCP. Met with LYA at PCP with engineer to go over plans and parking.
- November elections in West Pikeland change form of government from 3 to 5 supervisors. Field progress stopped. Fields back on the table for discussion.
- New Commissioners appointed: Soccer-Anne Gehret, Field Hockey-Sharon Webb, Travel Soccer-John Marbach, Travel Softball Tim Streeter, Basketball-Scott Yard-, West Pikeland Rep-Beth Maderang, Treasurer-Frank Giancatarino, Registrations-Mark Spallone, Operations VP-Jim Kehr, Board Secretary-John Stanzione.
- LYA fielded a NEW team – Junior Hillcats-13 – coached by John Stanzione
- Eagle Scout Mike LaRosa #23 – Troop 14 built a 24×10 lacrosse/soccer practice wall on Hoffecker.
- Eagle Scout Zack Shiner #24 – Troop 83 remodeled the Foster Field Press Box, replacing the floor and installing a new light and paneling the stairwell.
- A new Electric Scoreboard was installed at Foster Field
- A new water system was installed at Foster Field.
- The LYA House was renovated/repaired – chimney/antennae removed, ceilings replaced in file room and side porch from water damage, new flashing and shingles and new light fixture on side porch, new roof on back porch and new screens on front porch.
- West Pikeland – revoted to install second regulation field in Pine Creek Park. 3-2
- In June , LYA donated $15,000 to WP field project to be placed in an LYA/WP escrow account.
- West Pikeland – revoted to delay field construction on proposed regulation field. 3-2
- West Pikeland finance committee submitted budget for field development with costs never requested by LYA. August 1st – New supervisors sent letter to LYA requesting statement that LYA will not ask for more parking, to sign off on a bridge issue and not request another field until child participation reached 400. Field still not under construction on August 3. Deadline is Aug 31st to have field under seed. LYA responded to West Pikeland – those are township issues not LYA issues.
- West Pikeland Lands Trust – advised new WP supervisors not to build new soccer field in Pine Creek Park as an environmental issue. Let it be noted that the 72-acre park has only 3 acres presently dedicated to active recreation in the form of soccer fields which are considered open space. PCP is 3 times larger than Lionville Park which houses seven baseball/softball fields and 3 soccer fields.
- In September, LYA Board of Directors voted to suspend participation of West Pikeland residents from LYA’s programs beginning with the January 2009 registration for Spring Little League baseball, Softball and Lacrosse. Also effective January 1, 2009, participation of all West Pikeland residents on LYA travel teams (Pride baseball, Lionville Soccer Club and Girls Softball) will be suspended. The suspension remains in effect until the second regulation size field is leveled, graded and seeded to LYA’s satisfaction along with adequate parking and access for program participants.
- In October West Pikeland – sent field plans to county and put bids out for new field….current plans provided that field will be under seed by year end.
- November – WP fires township manager, hires former West Whiteland Twsp Manager, may have to rebid field work. Parent group stops the Home Rule vote. Field work hopes to begin this month to be under seed/sod by year end. Adequate parking for new fields has not be resolved.
- January – LYA Boards votes to hire an Executive Director and will send mass email to members. Travel Soccer changes treasurer to Jim Kehr. Each team will report a summary of accounts at the end of each season. West Pikeland – Hallenbach reported that the bog turtle issue seems to be resolved. Progress on the fields in W.P. is good.
- February – the Board voted to Reduce Registration Fees for Fall Sports – “Due to the current economic downturn, LYA, as a one time community service, will reduce the registration fees for its fall intramural sports programs (soccer, fall baseball, field hockey and fall softball) to approximately 50% of their regular registration fees. The registration fees associated with any travel teams (i.e. Pride Baseball, Travel Soccer) will not be reduced. No financial scholarships will be offered during the fall season.”
- February – LYA Board voted to expand its policy on the frequency of conducting background checks. Steve McLaughlin volunteered to take the lead in submitting future background checks and maintaining a database of LYA volunteers.
- March – 1600 children will participate in LYA sports. Tom Tucker gave a brief update on the West Pikeland field issue. Township is on schedule to have field in place by May deadline. Joseph Munnelly elected Treasurer of LYA. Anne Gehret is hired as new LYA Executive Director. Steve Reber would like Board approval to start a new American Legion 16 year old Cadet team.
- April – A WP resident (Henry Jordan) brought an injunctive suit against DEP to stop the building of the soccer field. Hearing will be held on April 20th. If resident wins at this hearing, WP Township would have to revise the plans to accommodate new issues such as a retention basin, etc. WP has a deadline on 5/15/09 to have the field under seed or sod to allow WP residents to continue to have full access to LYA programs. Motion made to extend this deadline to 5/31/09. Senior soccer league will become a coed a league in Fall 2009. Travel Soccer motion denied to add additional teams at certain age groups – Soccer Manual states – one team per age group.
- May – The West Pikeland field has been satisfactorily completed by the 5/15/09 deadline. Steve Reber is appointed District 28 Baseball AD. A second shed ( cost $1495) for storage of baseball equipment is donated by LYA to DEHS varsity baseball field
- June/July – 10 year old Tournament Team wins the District 28 District and Sectional Pennants. Barb Batt retires as Commissioner of Sponsors, a position she has held for 15 years and raised $105,000.
LYA Board votes to share expenses of new scoreboard on soccer/lax/football field in LP with DASD.
- August – Summer Camp ends 13th year of 8 weeks of fun in LP.
- September – NEW Target Soccer Field comes on line. Lionville Pride to host 3rd Annual Tournament. Registration for Winter Basketball Sept 1-30 on line only.
- October – Field Hockey to host first annual Battle of the Stix at LP.
- Lionville Park developed sink holes due to excessive rain. UT repaired with cement.
- Winter damage to LYA buildings in the park – Press box, Concession Stand and Tractor repaired at a cost of $25,000.
- West Pikeland passes new ordnance – bans airhorn use in PCP. LYA uses whistles. Air Horns are used in all Uwchlan Township parks.
- West Pikeland new field under seed, needs fence and parking.
- Lacrosse helps staff the concession stand for first time.
- Lionville LL hosts 11 yr old LL Barrow tournament
This history is a Thank You – to those who came before us, to those who now carry the torch and to those who are yet to come. We salute the 550 LYA volunteers who each year commit over 180,000 hours to the children of the community organizing teams, coaching, refereeing, umpiring, maintaining fields, fundraising, managing the books and insurance, working the concession stand, registering and data-basing, and attending meetings begging for land.
“Let there be no greater cause than to invest in the future of America through its children and let there be no obstacle so great that would deter this valiant effort.”