Pembroke Ball Field Dedicated

By Dorothy Johnson

Above Gordon Ganong and Kevin Stanhope get ready to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.  Ganong was the first coach of the Pembroke Mets and Stanhope threw in memory of his father Eugene Stanhope who was very involved with the Pembroke Little League teams. (Photo by Dorothy Johnson)

Liberty Hill Field, the new ball park in Pembroke, was dedicated on Saturday.  The construction, in the abandoned lot of the old Pembroke High School on Liberty Hill, began in the summer of 2011 when the officials at the old Pembroke Fairgrounds and Racetrack thought it was unsafe to have the Little League Field in the infield of the track.
Since then businesses, individuals and families have put in countless hours to complete the project.  Saturday’s dedication was attended by many young ball players, their families and several representatives from the businesses, builders and construction companies.
Chris Gardener, director of the Eastport Port authority, handled the honors of being the emcee for the dedication ceremonies.  After Brittney Jamieson sang the National Anthem, Gardener thanked the many involved with the building of the field, getting and setting the fence, construction of dugouts, bleachers and concession stand, raising the back stop and making a safe place for the children of Pembroke to play ball.
This will be the home park for the Pembroke Mets whose roots go back to the late 1960s when Eastport started a Little League baseball program.  Eastport only had enough players for  three teams so the representatives asked Perry to field a team.  A few years later Perry had too many players for one team, but not enough players for two teams so they asked youngsters from Pembroke to join them.  This second Perry team was the beginning of the Pembroke Mets.
In the early 1970s the Pembroke Trotting Association allocated a portion of the race track infield for the construction of a baseball field and that field happened just like this new one.  Volunteers worked many hours to build it.  The first game was played there in 1972 and ball games continued to be played there until approximately 2000 when the teams began using the field at the Pembroke Elementary School.  The team later changed its affiliation from Little League to Cal Ripken Baseball,  and the Pembroke team continues today as the Pembroke Mets Cal Ripken Baseball Team.
The dedication program then listed the names of all of the volunteers who have spent time coaching and those assisting coaches who gave so much of their time to benefit area youth.  The ceremonial first pitches were thrown out by Gordon Ganong, coach of the very first Pembroke Mets from 1968 to 1972 and Kevin Stanhope, in memory of his dad Eugene Stanhope.  Catching the first pitches was Riley Robinson, the catcher of the 2013 Pembroke Mets. Umpiring the dedication game was Don Veader, coach of the Pembroke Mets Little League team from 1985-1988.
With the ceremonial first pitches, the field was dedicated to all coaches, assistant coaches, managers and volunteers behind the scenes who have served the youngsters of Pembroke so well.