Opening day for Howard Township Baseball League

NILES, Mich., --- Saturday was opening day for the Howard Township Baseball League in Niles.

Around 20 little league teams competed at Pepper Martin Park in Niles, alongside featured events like a coach's softball game and a hot-dog eating contest.

League president Jason Riggins along with the Howard Township board are doing everything they can to grow their league and bring in outside community members.

“We draw kids from Mishawaka, Edwardsburg, Dowagiac, the big Niles area, Brandywine area. Buchanan area sometimes too. We’re one of the most striving little leagues in the area right now, we’re pulling 250+ kids a year still for our league,” said Riggins.

On the event side, the coaches softball game was a return to form, as the game hadn’t been held for a while and the coaches say it’s a great way to let families have some fun without being on the diamond.

“We haven’t done one for a few years so we kind of wanted to have a reason to have people come down here and watch and get involved that wasn’t just their own baseball game,” added Riggins.

Once the coaches game wrapped, it was time for a brand-new event – the hotdog eating contest, featuring board-members, coaches and even a local indie wrestler created the winner's trophy.

“This is a trophy that I made. I made it for the hot dog king which we’re going to find out today who that is,” said local wrestler nicknamed Travesty.

Matt Miller, the Vice President of the league came away with the win and the trophy for the new contest.

But hot dog achievements aside, Saturday was a day of fun for the family – at a park that the locals feel that they can trust.

“Howard Township it’s a beautiful park, it’s hard to beat it's a very safe place to be, you can trust your kids to just kind of go off run go to the batting cage, go up to the park and play,” said Riggins.

“They have this whole nice park, three different fields so it’s really nice for young kids and tey meet up and go run around and have fun,” added Miller.

For more information on the league click here.

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