The Phillie Phanatic greets little leaguers at a recent CHYSC Opening Day. (Photo by Pete Mazzaccaro)

by Brendan Sample

With the start of spring comes the start of another season for the Chestnut Hill Youth Sports Club baseball program, with the first games starting on April 14 and the Opening Day ceremony being held on April 21. The season will open with the program’s major and minor league teams, with tee ball and rookie ball coming on Opening Day, where the Phillie Phanatic is expected to make an appearance, and senior travel baseball starting in late May.

The 2018 season will mark the second for CHYSC as an affiliate of Cal Ripken Baseball. After a successful first season in the program, Commissioner Brian Tilley is looking forward to participating in the Ripken Tournaments once again.

“We’re very excited to continue this relationship,” Tilley said. “Our organizations share similar goals for our kids – to grow their baseball fundamentals and skills, to teach them to be good teammates, to promote sportsmanship and most importantly to have fun.

“Ultimately, this relationship also provides our a kids with a chance to compete in Ripken District and State Tournament Playoffs. We’ll be fielding at least three teams in this highly competitive tournament setting.”

Another aspect of the upcoming season that the CHYSC is looking forward to is the return of the Savigny Lions team from France, who will be back in the area during the last week of April. After sending a team to France to play last year, the CHYSC will be hosting the Lions as they did when this annual exchange program began in 2016.

With this being the third year of the exchange, CHYSC Baseball and and the Lions consider each other sister programs at this point, which is certainly a big help in continuing to offer unique experiences to the players involved on both sides.

“This experience with our friends from France is representative of what sports offers beyond the playing field,” Tilley explained. “Through baseball, our kids are being exposed to French culture, making new friends from around the world, expanding their interpersonal skills and of course making lifetime memories.”

In addition to continuing its relationship with the Lions, the CHYSC will have increased partnerships with other local baseball programs for the upcoming season. The intramural program is set to play 14 games against Mount Airy Baseball, while the travel teams will have informal partnerships with programs in Whitpain, Methacton, Roxborough, Whitemarsh and Plymouth.

These local partnerships were formed to provide participating kids with expanded neighborhood experience and more quality baseball options, and even with the season just about to start, the program is still looking forward to bringing in new players through these new relationships.

“As a community-based program, CHYSC Baseball is thrilled to welcome any and all kids to our baseball family,” Tilley said. “After completing 10 weeks of winter indoor baseball training, we’re excited to continue this teaching beyond our games & team practices.”