By Sadie Hunter
David Leyda, president of Noblesville Youth Baseball, says the organization has one goal – to provide a low-cost opportunity for area kids to play baseball.
It seems like a straightforward idea, and it is, which is probably why it has proved successful.
Just opening its season this month, NYB is the baseball outlet to nearly 1,200 kids in Noblesville, from age 3 through sixth grade.
“We’re serving primarily Noblesville School-age children,” Leyda said. “We don’t have a residency requirement (for rec), per se, but 99 percent-plus of the kids are in Noblesville Schools.”
NYB offers both rec and full-time and part-time travel leagues. All leagues end at the sixth-grade level, as Noblesville Schools begins offering organized baseball programming in seventh grade at Noblesville East and Noblesville West Middle Schools.
While the organization isn’t directly affiliated with the school district, they do have a partnership for land use where the facilities are located behind Hazel Dell Elementary School at 3025 Westfield Rd.
A member of the Noblesville Youth Sports Alliance – an organization promoted by the schools as a one-stop shop for youth sports in Noblesville – Leyda said NYB provides the lowest cost for youth baseball in central Indiana at $50 for one, full year of baseball, along with a hat and jersey.
“There are a lot of studies that show that children who play sports throughout schooling, and play a lot of sports, do better in school and get better grades because they’re active and involved,” Leyda said. “Obviously, we play a part in that. We love to see kids playing baseball versus facing the TV.
“Our most full divisions are the 3- and 4-year-old, the 5-year-old and the Kindergarten. So, those boys fill up to the point where we can’t take any more players. We have a waiting list, simply based on capacity, the number of teams we can support with the scheduling and everything else.”
But Leyda said while the largest numbers come from the youngest in the organization, interest and involvement in travel teams has grown significantly.
“The number of travel teams is exploding,” he said. “So, the opportunities to play after sixth grade, for any player, have increased a lot.”
Aside from numbers, what’s more astonishing is how the organization is run – nearly solely from volunteer work.
“We have a full-volunteer board of directors – with the exception of our executive director – made up of folks from the community,” Leyda said. NYB’s executive board consists of a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and executive director, in addition to working and advisory boards.
“The real mission of NYB is to give a low-cost opportunity for kids in the community to play baseball … to have fun, to be competitive, to learn the advantages of building relationships with coaches and relationships with other players as friends,” Leyda said.
Leyda said registration for the fall season will open no later than May 1. For more, visit noblesvillebaseball.org.
BOBBY A. MILLS FIELD OF DREAMS
The Noblesville Youth Baseball facility is home to the Bobby A. Mills Field of Dreams. Mills is credited for helping start NYB, collaborating with the schools, local businesses and the entire community as a fundraiser to bring organized youth baseball to Noblesville.
“He had a vision to start baseball in Noblesville for kids,” Leyda said. “He went out into the community and raised the money to start building the facility, and they started with one field – the Bobby A. Mills Field of Dreams. He was out here every day until he passed away (in 2010.)”
BY THE NUMBERS
- 1,200 – Kids who play baseball through NYB.
- 14 – Average games per team in a season.
- 2 – Average games per week per team in a season.
- 1-2 – Practices per week, depending on league and age.
- 967 – Rec players.
- 120 – Travel players.
- 90 – Part-time travel players.
- 8 – Fields (All outdoor, turfed and lighted).
- 80 – Teams.
- 20 – Volunteer board members.
- 185 – Volunteer coaches.
- 10 – Tournaments to be hosted in 2016.
- 20-30K – Annual outside visitors as a result of hosting tournaments.
NYB FACILITY FEATURES
The Noblesville Youth Baseball facilities feature eight outdoor, lighted, turf fields – the only all-turf facility in central Indiana – in addition to practice batting cages and a practice pitching area.
In 2001, the organization was presented with four awards by the Continental Amateur Baseball Association for hosting the 2001 CABA House World Series, including Best Facility.
In the future, Leyda said the organization is looking to add batting cages and an additional two to four fields. “Big picture, we want to have some sort of indoor facility.”