Bridgewater Community Little League: History

Home of *15* Virginia State Champions!!

State Champions

2014		9-10 Softball
2011		9-10 Baseball  
2010		11-12 Softball
2009		9-10 Softball
2009		9-10 Baseball
2003 	Junior Baseball
2002		9-10 Softball
2002		11-12 Baseball
2000		9-10 Baseball
1999		9-10 Baseball
1999		11-12 Softball
1998		11-12 Baseball
1998		11-12 Softball
1998		Junior Softball
1992		11-12 Baseball 

We are proud to offer this history of our league, as written by an unknown league official circa 1983-84.

After umpiring at a State Regional Little League Baseball Tournament in Front Royal, Virginia, local semi-pro umpire, Carl E. (Pidge) Rhodes, Sr. returned to Bridgewater with a desire and a determination to organize a Little League program for Bridgewater and the surrounding area. He presented his idea to the Bridgewater Ruritan Club and asked for their support. The community became very enthusiastic. The league was formed in February of 1955 and began playing in May of the same year. The first officers were Carl Rhodes, Sr., Don Eager, Herschel Miller, Ward Miller, Leonard Hollen, Bill Hisey, Roland Arey, Harry McCary, and Dr. Mark Myers. There is some question as to who served as the first president but it was agreed that Dr. Myers was the league’s first treasurer.

The first league consisted of 4 teams with 11 players on each team. In 1956, the Farm League was added, playing with 4 teams with 13 players each. Two years later in 1958, the Senior League was formed and by 1960 the program had expanded to 6 teams in each division. The league was chartered officially by Little League Baseball, Inc. of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, in March of 1955. A field was furnished by the Celanese Corporation of Bridgewater where the Little League and Farm League played. Senior League played on a field at the Bridgewater Elementary School.

According to the first officers, Bridgewater was the first Little League to play night baseball in the United States. This was granted by league officials from the Williamsport office because in the rural area that Bridgewater Community Little League served, the boys were needed at home during daylight hours to help with chores.

The league has continued to be very successful over the years, sending many teams to represent District 3 in the Virginia State tournament. Prior to the early 1990's, Bridgewater Community Little League teams went to the State Tournament in 1965, 1966, and 1967, 1968, 1969, 1981, 1982, and 1984.

Due to the sale of the Celanese land in 1982 where the Little League and Farm League teams played, the league began playing on a field at the Bridgewater Elementary School and on an adjoining field loaned to them by the Bridgewater Home, Inc. The Senior League played at the John Wayland Intermediate School baseball field where Turner Ashby High School’s home games are played. In this same year, the Bridgewater Little League, incorporated and became known officially as the Bridgewater Community Little League, Inc. 

In 1988 the Town of Bridgewater purchased forty-five acres, for a town park. In 1989 the town leased seven acres of land to Bridgewater Community Little League to give the league a place to play. By 1990, teams began playing on their new fields at Oakdale Park. At this time, there were 5 Farm leagues, (7 – 8 year olds), 6 Minor/Major leagues (9 -10 & 11 -12 year olds). A year later a Softball field was built. The next few years were spent raising money, and getting loans to build four additional fields. One for T-Ball and Farm Softball (field #1), a Little League baseball field (field #5), a Senior League field (field #4), and Little League softball field (field #6).  This gave the league six fields in total to play upon. The fields were a welcome addition as each one saw regular use.  

In 1998, BCLL had a record enrollment of 800 players, which encompassed 64 teams for that year. Over the years with the introduction of soccer, American Legion Baseball, and other travel ball programs, the numbers have fallen off. Presently, the program has approximately 400-500 players forming T-ball, Farm League, Minor League, Major League and Junior League for both baseball and softball. The programs range from age 4 and through age 18 years old.

In 2001, the League added what was believed to be the best thing they could have been done for the community - the Challenger Program.  This Challenger Program, the first of it's kind in the area, was good for the league, the players, and community at large.  The children who participate enjoy every minute they're at the ball park.  Each year there are approximately 4 teams, consisting of 40 players or more.

The League is fortunate to have a large group of willing volunteers serving as Board members, officers, managers, coaches, umpires, mowers, field maintenance, concession stand managers and the volunteers.  The story certainly continues ...

The Bridgewater Community Little League program is proud to have thirteen of its former players over the years to have signed professional baseball contracts. They are:

Alan Knicely, 1974, Houston Astros
Harold Knicely, 1974, Houston Astros
Ted Croy, 1974, Cincinnati Reds
Donnie Bowman, 1978, Baltimore Orioles
Alan Mayles, 1979, New York Yankees
Tom Bocock, 1982, St. Louis Cardinals
Clint Curry, 1982, Texas Rangers
Kevin Alger, 1992 Philadelphia Phillies
Jimmy Hamilton, 1997, Cleveland Indians
Aaron Lough, 1998, Minnesota Twins
Ian Ostlund, 2001, Detroit Tigers
Addison Bowman, 2002, Boston Red Sox
Brian Bocock, 2005, San Francisco Giants