SAN BERNARDINO – It was a birthday to remember for Kit Golden.
The new Little League Western Region director, Golden celebrated her birthday Saturday on the opening day of the West, Northwest and Mountain baseball tournaments at Al Houghton Stadium.
“We’ve been waiting for this day, so I’m really excited and it’s been a lot of fun,” Golden said. “
Joined on site by her husband, three adult sons and thousands of fans, Golden took a quick break from orchestrating her first regional tournament and its myriad volunteers as temperatures soared near 100 degrees.
“For me, it’s the community of it and it’s coming out and cheering on the kids, supporting their dreams and it’s all of that,” Golden said. “It’s the pureness that you don’t find in many other organizations.”
Hired in the spring to replace outgoing director April Meehleder, Golden had previously served as Little League CA District 20 administrator since 2016.
“That transition was actually made pretty easy, and April still texts me today and says, ‘Happy Birthday and good luck with the tournament, and we still talk,” Golden said.
Meehleder was hired in 2017 and served the Western Region through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“She’s been great and has really been there when I needed it,” Golden said.
Golden is a self-admitted “Little League lifer” whose roots with the organization go back to her pre-teens years.
“I’ve always been involved in Little League since I was a kid,” Golden said. “I played Little League softball and I was that kid that hung out at the field from sun-up till sundown. I was just a ballpark rat kind of kid.”
She watched her boys go through Little League in their hometown of Glendora, now she welcomes Glendora Little League as it makes its first-ever appearance in the West Region.
“Glendora has never sent a team here so it’s pretty impressive,” Golden said. “All of Glendora has come out in support, so it’s been refreshing to see the community.”
The Southern California 11- and 12-year-old champions, Glendora American Little League suffered a 3-0 loss against Honolulu LL in Saturday’s late game.
Hawaii pitcher Jaron Lancaster had 12 strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings. Glendora was held to one hit.
“There’s a 25-percent chance that (Glendora American) can be the West Champion and be the first from the city to go to Williamsport, but a lot will depend on what happens (on Saturday night),” Golden said.
With an estimated 6,000 in attendance for Saturday night’s game, it was the first time fans have been allowed into Al Houghton Stadium since the 2019 tournament.
“Having actual fans here, you can’t beat it,” Golden said. “And to see the excitement on kids’ faces because of all the people is great.”