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Play Ball!

Hundreds of Petaluma Little Leaguers with visions of achieving the fame and glory earned by the Petaluma National Little League's World Series heroes dancing under their helmets, begin their quest Saturday with opening ceremonies, followed by the first games of the spring.

The players who captured the attention of the entire community during their run to a third-place finish (second in the country) in the Little League World Series will be honored at the National League's opening-day ceremonies beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Carter Field on the Petaluma Junior High School campus. The World Series players will present their Western Region championship banner to the league and greet this season's players to open the ceremonies.

Festivities will include the honoring of the league's Volunteer of the Year, Dan Libarle leading the singing of God Bless America, Petaluma High School student Ellie O'Neill singing the National Anthem and her brother, Brendan O'Neill throwing out the first pitch. Brendan was severely injured when he was struck in the head by a batted ball while playing in a Little League game last season.

All teams will be presented and then will come the most important part of the ceremonies — games.

Valley League

The Petaluma Valley Little League will begin its opening-day ceremonies at Murphy Field at 9 a.m. Saturday.

"We are going to keep it short and sweet," a league official said.

Ceremonies will include the National Anthem, introduction of the teams, the ceremonial first pitch of the season and then the all-important, "Play Ball!"

American League

The Petaluma American Little League will wait until the following week to hold its opening-day ceremonies on March 9

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