Dan Gisonno and David Dorgan are presidents of the smallest of the five Little League organizations in the city, Pine Hill and Lynn Shore, respectively, but neither leader expects to see a merger with other leagues in the near future.
The other Little League organizations in Lynn are West Lynn American, Wyoma, and East Lynn. There is also an Alice O’Neil Challenger Little League program.
Gisonno said approximately 200 players will compete in Pine Hill Little League beginning in April. Dorgan said 172 players competed in Lynn Shore last season.
West Lynn American officials have approached Gisonno and other Pine Hill leaders about merging the two organizations.
“We’ve talked about it, but no serious talks have taken place – it’s all preliminary,” said Gisonno, who has been PHLL president for three years. “We each have three Major League teams so together we’d be as big as Wyoma and East Lynn.”
Gisonno, whose sons Matthew and Daniel play in the PHLL, said a merger would not only involve talk about relocating players, but about managing fields such as Gallagher Park, Flynn Field, and Barry Park.
“That’s three different concession stands, six different fields – it’s a pretty daunting task to take on,” said Gisonno. “There would be a lot of logistics to work out. The other problem is that one of the leagues would have to give up its charter and once you give up your charter, it’s pretty tough to get that back.”
Gisonno said he also must consider Pine Hill’s 51 years of history “and all the people who have worked to keep the league going for all these years.”
Dorgan distributed a Lynn Shore Little League “Welcome Guide” to parents at the registration clinic. It included 23 separate accomplishments and improvements that the league made in 2011.
“Our enrollment was down (130 players), the field (Kiley Park) was in rough shape and the infrastructure was pretty bad,” said Dorgan.
But things are now looking up under Dorgan and the new board of directors.
According to the Lynn Shore guide, at a cost of about $10,000 the entire Major League infield was removed, leveled, and replaced. Sixty-five tons of DuraEdge Recreational soil was installed, replacing Kiley Park’s 25-year-old soil.
“We’re looking at a brand new field for Opening Day,” said Dorgan whose sons Declan and Nolan play in Lynn Shore Little League. “We’ve gotten grant money from the city with Jamie Marsh of Community Development. John Kasian has been fabulous helping us with the field.”
Dorgan said at this point, he doesn’t foresee a merger.
“I wouldn’t like to see a merger at this time,” said Dorgan. “I played ball at Pine Hill. My senior league team beat Shore for the City Series in 1981. Shore has 60 years of history. As far a merger goes, it doesn’t come up. If our numbers drop and East Lynn’s numbers drop (the two leagues share a cooperative arrangement) and you’re looking at hard facts of statistics, then I think we would consider it. But I like the rivalry right now.”