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Getting in the swing of spring
Rock Creek packed for opening day
2 Opening Day pic 3
Hannah Gerrells, 7, (in red jersey) dribbles the ball down the field on her way to score a goal for her team, the Under-8 Arsenal. - photo by Photo/Michele Hester

Rock Creek Sports Complex sprung to life Saturday morning as hundreds of young athletes took the fields for opening day at the park.


While some of the older players see opening day as a time-honored tradition in which they’ve participated their entire lives, others proudly donned their tiny uniforms for the first time.


Running to home plate just minutes into his T-ball game, Jay Johnson of the 6 and under Nationals slapped his teammate’s hand.


“I got a triple,” he said.


The excitement lasted throughout the day, which began early that morning with a parade through the park and a helicopter flying over dropping parachuting toys into the crowd.


Among the other highlights Saturday was a visit from hometown sports heroes and past parks and recreation players who now play college ball.


“Lance Walls, Levi Walls, Logan Walls and Chad Cunningham came out to take photos and sign autographs for the children,” said Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Henson.


“The children thoroughly enjoyed our hometown celebrities.”


Cunningham, who is a member of the University of Tennessee football team, and the Walls brothers, who play football for Georgia Tech, are Dawson County High School graduates.


Several vendors added to the excitement, offering cakewalks and moonwalks for the children as they waited for their games to begin.


Henson said youth sports programs continue to run strong in Dawson County, with close to 1,000 players between the age of 4 and 18 participating this spring.


“Opening Day 2009 was a huge success,” Henson said. “We look forward to a successful and fun-filled spring sports season.”


E-mail Michele Hester at