History of SMYO
(founded in 1971)
In the Spring of 1971, over 40 players tried out for a baseball team that would represent the Pomfret community in LaPlata's Little League baseball program with Rick Willett being manager of the 9-12 year old youth baseball team. There was one complicated issue, the team could only have 15 players on the roster and parents like Harry Clegg Sr. wondered what would happen to the kids who did not make the team. Because of the concerns voiced by Harry Clegg, the parents pulled together to form what would be SMYO's first minor league program. The league became associated with the Charles County Parks and Recreation and played teams from LaPlata.
In that fall, these "founding fathers" asked St. Joseph's Church if they could use some of their property to build a baseball field. Father Sheehan agreed to the request, thus making what would be the first SMYO little league field and, appropriately, named it "SHEEHAN FIELD".
That December, this began what would be the official establishment of SMYO. There was an election for the officers, and the first board of directors was elected. Stanley Kozloski was elected President and Rick Willett was elected Vice President. Chick Garrow was Treasurer and Joan Penning was Secretary. The first board consisted of Adrean Pickeral, Rick Willett, Will Payne, Evelyn Phelps, Carl Comer, Herb Howard and Stanley Kozloski, who was chairman of the board. (Adrean Pickeral would later resign from the board and Harry Clegg was elected to serve out the rest of his term.)
The next spring, SMYO chartered with Little League Headquarters in Williamsport with the help of Mr. Lou Zwick, the District Administrator for Southern Maryland. A girls softball team was formed and SMYO would become incorporated. Later, there would be football and cheer leading, as well as baseball and softball. A soccer program was later established as well.
In the years since Clegg, Willett and Kozloski got together with those parents and decided that a little league program was needed for the youth of Pomfret, a parcel of land was purchased for $50,000.00 and SMYO was built into what it is today. With the help of individuals like Les Santee, who played the major role in getting the fields built, along with the help of several members from Local Union #77 (Operating Engineers) who donated their time to the construction of the fields. It was also noted that many of the individuals who donated their time did not have children participating in SMYO, but felt it was an extremely worthy cause.
In the following years, a concession stand was built, fences have been put up, a playground was added and a building (the "clubhouse") was built to house our maintenance equipment and store uniforms, as well as for a meeting place for the membership. It has two soccer fields, and an announcer booth that was recently built. Lights have been added to three of the four ball fields. Obviously, there are many folks that were not mentioned above who over time have donated time, energy, and money. We owe them all a tremendous thanks for the continued success of SMYO.
(The history above was based on information provided by Rick Willett and Stan Kozloski. It was also updated recently with additional information provided by Rick Willett and Joe Clegg, who was a member of the first SMYO baseball team.)
Since 1999, we rebuilt our dugouts on all four baseball fields to ensure they are handicap accessible to all. Our efforts consisted of:
- Replacing the concrete pads in our dug-outs on 3 baseball fields; and,
- Increased the entrances to our dug-outs making them handicap accessible.
- Replaced and increased the size of the back-stops on most baseball fields for increased safety.
- Replaced the fencing and fabric on 3 baseball fields.
- Increased the height of the fences for increased safety.
- Made several improvements to snack-bar to meet safety and county guidelines.
- Added another batting cage.
- Established a new web site and registered it.
In 2000 and 2001, we completed our handicap accessibility project. We paved portions of the parking lot for handicapped parking. We also re-paved the access roads between the fields which facilitates handicapped access to all fields families who have children/adult family members with special needs. Some of our recent efforts include:
- Expanding our parking lot.
- Replace some of the fencing on baseball fields.
- Improved the lighting on all baseball fields and started adding lights to illuminate some of the soccer fields.
- Improved the lighting for our batting cages.
- Upgraded electrical services.
- Upgraded some of the cooking appliances in the Concession Stand.
- Purchased a new commercial style lawn tractor for cutting grass.
- Added diaper changing stations to our bathrooms.
In spring 2008, our soccer program added the PeeWee age group creating a game for 4 year olds. That fall, our soccer fields began a 3-year makeover after vandalism damage to the turf. Each year for 3 years, a third of the soccer fields were closed in the fall to improve the turf with special seeding and compost. One of our own soccer coaches and a major SMYO sponsor donated their time and equipment to improve our soccer fields. During the fall 2010 season, baseball outfields were added to the fall aeration and over-seeding. In fall 2009, we added the U18 coed age group to the county soccer program. After years of high school age players not having a fall program, the county soccer organizations decided to add this for the youth who didn’t play on high school teams. SMYO successfully fielded a team the first year and in 2010 fielded two teams.
In fall 2010, we replaced batting cage fencing after severe damage from the winter snows of January and February 2010. In November, we added concrete pads to the batting cages. Through the winter of 2010-2011, the SMYO Clubhouse is undergoing a renovation as a Boy Scout Eagle Project by one of our own youth members. By spring registration, we should have newly painted walls, more shelving, and carpet.
Year 2011, we celebrate 40 years. Join us on opening day, April 2nd, to mark this celebration as we have been a part of many Charles County youth lives.