The 9th Annual Frontier Community Services (FCS) World Series of Baseball drew a host of local, state, and national dignitaries from as far away as Juneau to join the community fun, toss the first pitch, and steal the bases. Originally the idea of Joe Malatesta, a professional umpire and long time resident of the Central Peninsula, the games give people with disabilities the opportunity to engage together in America's favorite sport. "It really makes for a fantastic day for the entire community," said Ken Duff FCS executive director, "The benefits of people cheer you on cannot be underestimated. It's what baseball is all about and our consumers love it."
In addressing the crowd at the opening ceremonies Lt. Governor Mead Treadwell reminded everyone of the recent Independence Day celebration and that America's favorite pastime was a reflection of that independence that everyone strives for whether with disabilities or not and gathering to play baseball was a chance for everyone to engage in that spirit of independence. "The people that return year after year to help us out are terrific, Dr. MacIntosh, all our sponsors and members of the community that come out to cheer and root for their favorite team. This was a record breaking year for the event with nearly 90 participants coming from as far away as Valdez, Seward, and Homer and all over the Kenai Peninsula to play ball, it's incredible. It takes a couple of months to bring it all together, but I have a lot of help from staff and the community and this is a day for our consumers it's their time to shine, it's their day," said World Series coordinator Kathy Kenner. "We couldn't do this with out our more than 30 sponsors that provide everything from the fresh salmon, cooked by the Mercinkowski's from Pacific Star and Snug Harbor Seafoods, to Rep. Mike Chenault and Kurt Olson who provide the hot dogs and buns to the Peninsula Oilers who come to coach and autograph baseballs to our dedicated board of directors, it's just a total community team effort," added Duff. "We send our consumers and participants with hats, medals, baseballs, t-shirts and hats but most importantly with another life time memory," said Kenner.
Also turning out to cheer on the athletes who gathered at Soldotna Little League Park were Soldotna and Kenai City Mayors Pete Micciche and Pat Porter, Commissioner or the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services Bill Streur. Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Supt. of Schools Dr. Steve Atwater, senator Tom Wagoner, Borough Assembly president Gary Knopp, and Michelle Blackwell from Sen. Lisa Murkowski's office and Kim Howard for Sen. Mark Begich's office. Singing the National Anthem was Kate Gelinas.