Mt. Olympus Youth Baseball hits a home runSep 03, 2022 01:23PM ● By Peri Kinder
By Peri Kinder | [email protected]
Baseball often gets a bad rap for its long games, mind-numbing stats and the complicated infield fly rule. But baseball holds a special place in the hearts of fans who love to cheer on the home team.
Dee Hansen and Elliot Scruggs are introducing a new generation of athletes to the joy of baseball, one pitch at a time. Scruggs is the president of the Mt. Olympus Youth Baseball league, and Hansen is a former league commissioner and future board member.
The league invested $30,000 into the four city baseball fields, located behind Holladay City Hall at 4580 S. 2300 East. The fields needed some major upgrades this year, so the board voted to invest in the facilities and maintenance equipment.
“We had a surplus this year and we thought with having a little extra money in the account this would be a time to put that money to good use,” Scruggs said.
Mt. Olympus Baseball has used the fields for more than 30 years, with nearly 500 kids from the community putting in the time to learn and play the sport each spring. Many of the league’s volunteers played baseball at Olympus High School and the league continues to provide talented athletes to the school’s program.
One of the volunteers is local legend Dave Wiseman, a former baseball coach at OHS. Now retired and battling Parkinson’s disease, Wiseman spends several hours each day getting the fields ready.
“He was tasked to prep the baseball fields every game day. He would water the dirt, drag the field and he’d put the bases down and chalk the lines, every day,” Hansen said. “All the dads who played for him just love him, that’s why there’s such a support from dads who continue to keep their boys in Mt. Olympus.”
With the $30,000 investment, the league hired a baseball landscape company to cut the fields, making straight lines between the dirt and grass, on all four fields at city hall. A mobile pitcher’s mound was added to the northeast field for an elevated pitching option. On the two north fields, they laid a clay base and a top layer of dirt to make sliding easier and more fun for the players.
“It’s amazing,” Hansen said. “It’s what you’d see on more professional fields like high schools. It was a massive upgrade.”
The Mt. Olympus Youth Baseball league works with kids from 5 to 15, teaching them the fundamentals of the game while making baseball fun again. Learning concepts like respect, teamwork, accountability and good sportsmanship are just a few of the benefits players learn while playing the game.
“They learn to compete. They learn to play together as a team. Most importantly, they’re making friends,” Scruggs said. “It’s very rare to have everybody from the same neighborhood or even the same elementary school.”
“They begin to understand they’re all part of a team and are working toward one cause,” Hansen added. “They learn to respect authority and to have a common goal.”
As the league wraps up its season this year, Hansen and Scruggs are looking forward to next spring when they can get back to the fields where the skills, sounds and game of baseball is appreciated by the players and fans.
“We’re more than happy to invest in these fields because it gives the kids an opportunity to learn the game, so any investment we make in these fields, or in baseball, it pays off when you see the kids getting better from the beginning to the end of the season,” Scruggs said. “The nice fields make the kids feel like we’re invested in them learning baseball and having fun.”