Abbreviated youth baseball season underway in Hornell

HORNELL — The Hornell Little League officially opened up its season on Tuesday night with a pair of minor league games and also took the time to dedicate the season to a man who gave much of his life to helping those both on and off of the little league diamond.

Daniel (Danny) Masterson was a mainstay at the Hornell Little League field for over 30 years of his life. He umpired, coached and on many occasions, simply spectated as the kids of Hornell grew up before his eyes. Masterson passed away on Sunday, Aug. 30 after a long and courageous battle with cancer, and on Tuesday evening, the Hornell Little League honored his life by dedicating the 2020 season in his honor.

“He was always looking to help out the kids. Even the nights he didn’t umpire, he would come down to the games. And then after the games, he might pull one kid aside and give him some advice or help. He was always here for the kids because he loved them,” said HLL President Jason Jones. “He was an outstanding guy, and he will be missed.”

The 2020 season was nearly canceled for good due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But as other leagues began to open back up with strict guidelines to success, the Hornell Little League followed suit and put together a short season as quickly as possible.

“I’ve been in contact with our District 6 a lot throughout this whole thing. And after football was shut down, I knew it was time for us to do something and gets these kids out here. With the help of district 6 and Mayor Buckley, we were able to get to this,” said Jones.

And for Jones, getting the kids out of the house and doing something was great to see, and he was happy that so many in the community came together to help support the mission.

“I love seeing the kids out here. It was sad that we had to cancel our original season. But with the hard work of everyone, we were still able to get these kids out here, and it makes me really happy to have them here,” said Jones. “This is all about the kids. But it makes me happy to see what the parents have done to make sure this continues. It will only take one time for it to be all over, but everyone is doing their part. The parents are lending advice to me just as much as we are giving out guidelines, so I definitely appreciate all of the parents and what they are doing.”

The Little League will now have games nearly every single day through the month of September, with the last day of the season culminating on Oct. 3.

“Let’s have some fun and play some ball,” said Jones.