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WYAA bringing baseball back to Wayne kids


Leaders from the Wayne-Westland Youth Athletic Association, Wayne and Westland celebrate opening day with the kids.

By Sarah Shurge – Baseball is back in Wayne!
During the city council meeting on Tuesday, April 2nd, the City Council approved an agreement between the City of Wayne and the Westland Youth Athletic Association for youth baseball in the City of Wayne.
“It’s really a great marriage of the two because the Westland Youth Athletic Association is very experienced and established on managing the program end of it and they have the insurance end of it, but they just didn’t have a location in Wayne,” said Diane Webb, Wayne city manager. “They had Wayne kids playing in Westland. So this way, we have Wayne kids playing in Wayne. I think it’s a win-win all the way around.”
Webb wasn’t the only one at the council meeting that mentioned this agreement being a win.
“I think this is a big win for our community,” said Wayne Mayor John Rhaesa. “These are little things but they mean a lot, and I appreciate the administration, I appreciate the DPW [Department of Public Works] having the willingness to work with our baseball association and help them out to make sure this can happen because it’s important to our residents that we have a future for our kids.”
The Westland Youth Athletic Association (WYAA) is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to serving the youth of Westland and the surrounding areas since 1958.
The WYAA offers baseball (recreational and travel), football, and cheer.
“The goal is to get kids out playing sports and get them away from TV and video games,” said Sara Itter, Westland Youth Athletic Association president. “Not only does it teach them about sports, but about teamwork, giving back to the community, being kind, and working together.”
Lisa Osborne, baseball director, had been collaborating with the City of Wayne on how to get kids back on the fields in Wayne.
Ray Lefler, Wayne Baseball Association vice president, was also heavily involved in this process.
After almost two years of work and collaboration from many individuals and groups, kids are playing baseball in Wayne again.
Opening day for Wayne-Westland Baseball was Saturday, April 27th, at Forest Park.
“It’s good to get baseball back on the fields in Wayne. I’m excited to see all the kids get out there and play,” said Itter. “The city council guys were saying ‘play ball’ and that’s what I picture in my head, going out there and yelling ‘play ball’.”
Wayne-Westland Baseball is recreational baseball only, which verses Plymouth Canton Little League. Travel baseball (with WYAA) is local travel and weekend tournaments.
Games are normally scheduled until the end of June, play-offs happen after, and the season finishes before July 4th.
The fall season begins late August and runs through October.
Football and cheer (with WYAA) are already doing conditioning with camps. Practice will start the first week of August, and the season usually ends at the end of October/beginning of November.
“It keeps them active and makes them a better community member,” said Itter. “They’re learning how to be good teammates, good friends, and teaching them to clean up after themselves. You can’t learn that in video games or from watching TV.”
Itter has been WYAA president for two years.
Itter’s son started playing Comets football when he was 12 years old, after they moved to Westland. Itter helped with the booster for a few years and then joined the WYAA board. Itter has been part of the WYAA board for seven years total.
“We try to go beyond the fields and help the kids in our community and the community in other ways,” said Itter.
Through WYAA Cares, the WYAA has organized coat drives, food drives, served the needy, adopted families for Christmas, and donated to other fundraisers/organizations with an outreach to those in need.
The WYAA works closely with WWCS Superintendent John Dignan, and was able to prepare 120 Easter baskets for Wayne-Westland students with only a week’s notice.
The WYAA executive board members and directors are as follows: Sara Itter: President, Melinda Hovey: Vice President of Finance, Michele Derrick: Vice President of Operations, Monica Greenlee: Treasurer, Melissa Blevins: Secretary, Ashley Ringholz: Director of Communications, Shaun Ringholz: Compound Manager, Lisa Osborne: Baseball Director, Jimmy Brucker: Comets Football Director, Gina Bologna: Comets Cheer Director, Ryan Yoh and Antoine Billingsley: Meteors Football Directors, Jasmine Marks: Meteors Cheer Director, and Jen Owens: Meteors Cheer Assistant Director.
“We make a good team and I couldn’t do it without their support, hard work, and all their dedication,” said Itter. The WYAA has board meetings on the third Tuesday of the month, and is currently looking for volunteers, coaches, or someone to maintain the fields.
“We can keep anybody busy if they’re interested,” said Itter.
Partners of WYAA are: Airtime Trampoline & Game Park, Relay for Life, City of Westland, City of Wayne, Wayne-Westland School, Chevy Youth Baseball, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
Sponsors of WYAA are: Mark Chevrolet, Olympic Coney Island, Ringmasters, Knights of Columbus Notre Dame Council 3021, Westland Fire Department, and Wayne Police Department.
“We appreciate their support. We couldn’t do it without them,” said Itter. “We’re always looking for more sponsors.”
Team registration is currently open online for football and cheer. In June, registration will open for fall baseball. You can sign up on the WYAA’s website or follow WYAA on Facebook and find an in-person day where you can pay cash/check to sign up.
If you’re interested in donating to the WYAA, there is a link on their website. WYAA also appreciates equipment donations (in good condition, not necessarily new) to keep the cost down for families, as well as water to share with players.
The Westland Youth Athletic Association is located at 6050 N Farmington Rd, Westland.
For more information about the Westland Youth Athletic Association, visit thewyaa.com/, call or text (734)818-5511, or email INFO@THEWYAA.COM.
You can find the WYAA on Facebook by searching “Westland Youth Athletic Association.” Baseball game schedules can be found on Facebook by searching “WYAA Baseball” or by email.

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