Youth Baseball

chs-baseball-team-1930-31img075 chs-baseball-champs-1932-33img076 chuckatuck-sports-league-coaches-charles-rose-and-aleck-winslow-c-1978-img491In 1962 Mr. J. R. Kirk purchased land from Dr. L.L. Eley for a playground for the youth in the area.  The land was located behind Dr. Eley’s home and was deeded in the name of the Chuckatuck Playground Corporation.  The original directors were J. R. Chapman, Jr., Richard E. Carr, J. Samuel Glasscock, W. L. Whitley and Robert R. Allen.  The management has basically been under the auspices of the Chuckatuck Ruritan Club.  At the present time Rusty Rose is managing the property and keeping SCC filings and other matters up to date.

Between 1962 and 1974 many young people in the Chuckatuck community played ball on this field.  J. R. “Sonny” Chapman, Jr., John Kelly, Billy Whitley, Larry Mizelle, Mack Wright, Jerrell G. Honeycutt and many others were very involved in coaching the youth of the area during this time.

There was a rebirth of baseball on this field in 1976 when Margie Knight organized a t-ball team from the Chuckatuck area to play with the King’s Fork Athletic Association which was affiliated with Pony League Baseball, Inc.  Gary Berard and Charles Rose stepped up to help her with the coaching.  Communities represented with teams other than King’s Fork were Bethlehem, Carrsville, Cypress, Holland, Nansemond Gardens, Smithfield and Suffolk Christian School.  The boys did not have uniforms, but wore blue jeans and green t-shirts with numbers.  By the following spring the field behind the firehouse in Chuckatuck was readied for play and the Chuckatuck Sports League was formed with Charles as the first commissioner.  By 1977 the t-ball team, Chuckatuck Braves, was joined by a Mustang team (ages 9-10) called the Chuckatuck Warriors.  Efforts were made each year to add another age group each year as boys moved up from the current teams.  A Bronco team, known as the Chuckatuck Chiefs, was added for 11-12 year olds and a team for 13-14 year olds was added the following year. The last age group for boys organized under the Chuckatuck Sports League was for 15-16 year olds.  Older boys from the Chuckatuck area were welcomed to play with the Bennett’s Creek Little League.  Girls’ softball was added in 1980 for ages 8-17.  Coaches included Marilyn Oliver, Lynn Johnson, Paul Gwaltney and Jack Knight.

During these years the field behind the Howell house was cleared of fruit trees by volunteers and combined with the original field to accommodate more players.  In 2011 this field is rented from Dr. Leroy Howell by the Galaxy Fast Pitch organization.

Adults involved in the Chuckatuck Sports League as officers or coaches, in addition to Margie, Gary and Charles, included Fred Bew, Lynn Rose, George Youmans, Ann Berard, Linwood Owens, Paul Gwaltney, H. A. “Bud” Donnelly, Aleck Winslow, Cleve Johnson, Chris Jones, Bucky Kelly, Bill Whitley, John Sharrett, Bert Henderson, Robert Kinsey, Marilyn Oliver, Bill Harrell, Bob Everett and Billy Kessinger.  Other adults contributed by conducting fund raisers and keeping the concession stand running.

Charles Rose and Gary Berard later handed the management of the sports league to Billy Kessinger and Marilyn Oliver.  In approximately 2000 a flag pole was dedicated to two people in the community who were very involved with baseball in Chuckatuck, John Kelly and Marion Reid.  Marion lived nearby and was in attendance at many of the games.  She became known as “the dollar lady” because she would give $1.00 to any child who made a homerun for Chuckatuck.  This money came from her meager income because of her love of the game and the children.  By 2005 the number of eligible kids had dwindled or moved to Suffolk Youth Athletic Association activities and the Chuckatuck Sports League became dormant.

In 2006 a girls’ fast pitch softball organization known as Galaxy Fast Pitch comprised of girls from Suffolk and surrounding communities began using the facilities.  During the 2009-2010 season the various teams, ages 8-23, played 352 games primarily in Virginia and North Carolina.