July 2021 Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Little League Baseball and Softball The sounds of the crack when a bat meets a ball, and enthusiastic cheers from the dugouts and stands, along with the tastes and aromas of concession favorites can now be enjoyed by teams and fans at the new Little League Central Region Complex in Whitestown, Indiana. The complex officially opened on June 26, 2021. After three years of planning and construction, the Little League International staff, board of directors, Gov. Eric Holcomb, Whitestown Town Council President Clinton Bohm, dignitaries from Hendricks Regional Health and other members of the community/county who have been supporters of the construction and development process attended the complex’s grand-opening celebration. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Little League hosted the first game at the complex with a Little League Challenger Division game between Zionsville Little League and Brownsburg Little League Challenger. The Challenger Division is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. About Little League International Founded in 1939, Little League is the world’s largest organized youth sports program with approximately two million players (ages 4–16) playing baseball and softball in communities across every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries. Operated by more than one million volunteers, Little League believes in the power of youth baseball and softball to teach life lessons that build stronger individuals and communities. Each year, millions of people follow the hard work, dedication and sportsmanship that Little Leaguers display at Little League’s seven baseball and softball World Series events, the premier tournaments in youth sports. Flexing the New Facilities The new 15-acre complex is located at 7185 South Indianapolis Road in Whitestown, Indiana, just west of I-65 at Exit 130. It features the Central Region Headquarters administration building, a gift shop, concessions stand, restrooms, batting cages and a full-size, lighted Little League field with stadium seating, bleachers and a press box. The new complex will serve as the home of the Little League Softball Central Region Tournament (July 25–29) as well as the Little League Baseball Great Lakes and Midwest Region Tournaments (Aug. 7–14). Zionsville resident Nina Johnson-Pitt, Little League’s former Central Region director and current senior strategy executive, spoke with us about what makes Little League’s facilities so unique. “Little League has five regional sites around the country,” Johnson-Pitt shared. “The reason why we build facilities that are unique to us is because we are, in fact, unique. And we have these regional sites because it’s really hard to find existing facilities that would be able to accommodate the infrastructure to accommodate these tournaments as well as the ESPN crew that comes in to televise these games.” For those who may not know, Little League play is different than, say, high school baseball and softball. Johnson-Pitt pointed out that high school teams play on a 60/90 diamond and Little League plays on a 46/60 diamond. Johnson-Pitt added, “Another unique thing about our field is the skinned infield. We play our softball tournament first , and then the eight days between the two tournaments , we convert the field into a baseball field.” In addition to the gift shop and concessions that are located within the complex, Little League’s administration building is also located on-site. “It is the brain of the central region,” Johnson-Pitt stated. “We operate from this location and assist the almost 800 leagues in the 13 states of the central region, year-round.” Supporting Little League Central Region Suffice it to say, one does not just show up to a tournament that has magically come together. Behind the scenes are numerous dedicated volunteers that assist the small but mighty Little League staff. “We really only have a handful of employees and paid staff here at the central region,” Johnson-Pitt said. “The staff does all of the organization and planning, but then when it’s time to actually execute the tournaments, we bring in an army of volunteers and the machine starts rolling. Everyone from the umpires, scorekeepers, people picking up trash and parking cars are all volunteers. Some are local and some come in from out of state and use their vacation time to help us with these tournaments. It really does take a village to run these .” Johnson-Pitt concluded, “We make it more about the experience and not just about the game. And anybody that comes out will have a lot of fun and will experience that at every game.” To learn more about the new Little League Central Region complex, how to support the complex and more, visit LittleLeague.org/Whitestown. Be sure to follow Little League (@LittleLeague) on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.