With signups under way, Little League is preparing for what looks to be another successful year in Neosho.
More than 200 players have already signed up, according to Neosho Little League Board president Angie Leach.
The number is encouraging, Leach said, considering the main signup events have not been held yet.
Those signups, along with player evaluations, are set for Saturday, March 16, and Saturday, March 23.
"There's a lot of interest," Leach said. "But a lot have held off until our evaluation dates in the next few weeks."
Leach said she expects that number to grow quite a bit, after last year's season drew 660 players.
Going into only its second year in Neosho, the parent-run program has attracted such a large number of participants that space has become a concern for the league.
However, Leach says she believes the program will be able to work with the ballfield space available.
"We still have the same amount of space to work with this year, but I think that planning this far out, we've got a little more time to make it happen," Leach said. "I think it'll be plenty of room. It's going to be crowded, for sure, but it's what we have to work with."
The Neosho Little League was established last spring, for the first time since at least the mid-1990s.
The program was city-managed from that point until 2010, when the Freeman Southwest Family YMCA stepped up to the plate and took over operation of the ball program up until last season.
The parent-run program, which is now officially affiliated with Little League International, was brought back last spring, with the Neosho City Council giving final approval in April 2012.
"This year we have a great board of 13 people who are very dedicated to making it fun for the kids and it's a lot more organized this year with having a whole year to plan for it," Leach said. "I think it's going to be a really good year."
Parents will have two more chances to sign their kids up to play little league ball, with signups and evaluations for players ages 7 to 10 set from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, March 16 and signups and evaluations for players ages 11-16 scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. On Saturday, March 23 signups and evaluations will be open from 9 a.m. to noon for ages 11-16, and from 1 to 4 p.m. for ages 7-10.
The program is open to players ages 3-16, though only participants 7 and older must take part in evaluations.
The signups are being held at Morse Park, with check-in at the concession stand.
Leach said the $35 registration fee and a birth certificate to prove the child's age are all that parents will need to bring to sign their child up.
Page 2 of 2 - Financial aid is also offered to help with the registration fee.
The teams will be drafted on April 6, with practice starting shortly after, and the season will officially begin with the opening ceremony and first games May 4.
Leach said the eight-week season will wrap up at the end of June.
While the Neosho Little League is open to players in the Neosho R-5 and East Newton R-6 school districts, Leach said other players are welcome, though they would be required to complete a waiver that must be approved by the national Little League headquarters.
Leach said the organization is also seeking volunteers to serve as umpires and scorekeepers.
For more information, please contact Leach at 417-870-6369.