Sports News

Park and recreation gears up for spring little league


The Manning Times interviewed Paul McCulloch, Director of the Clarendon County Recreation Department, about the upcoming little league season.


MT: How did you start getting into baseball and then became the athletic director? What is your background? 

Paul McCulloch, Director of the Clarendon County Recreation Department: I’ve been recreation since 1991 at several different departments, cities and counties. So I just had an opportunity to come down to Manning because LeBon [Joye] retired. 

MT: What are the key rules and regulations of the league, especially any unique to your organization? 

PM: So we play the DYB, which is diamond youth baseball and diamond youth softball, DYS. The rules are pretty standard across the recreation organization, there’s really not one thing that is really different than any thing else. 

MT: What safety measures are in place during games, practices, and other league activities?

PM: Obviously, you know, watching pitch counts is a really important thing in this day and age. Making sure that, on the baseball side, the pitchers aren’t throwing more than they should. So based on the number of pitches they throw, if they hit certain thresholds, they are asked for two days rest, or three days rest based on the number of pitchers.

MT: How are rule violations handled, and what is the overall approach to sportsmanship and fair play? 

PM: We play against Turbeville, but we also play against Kingstree in our baseball. So, sometimes you get those little friendly rivalries, but, we obviously encourage sportsmanship, because we’re trying to teach life lessons, not just wins and losses. So, shaking hands after the games and things like that, to encourage that sportsmanship. 

MT: How are injuries or emergencies addressed, and what protocols are in place?

PM: If you have an injury that’s outside of just a cut or bruise we like to just be made aware of it that way we can keep track of it. We have AEDs (automated external defibrillator). We have one right here for the gymnasium. If there is an incident, we can respond to it quickly.

MT: How is the league structured, and what divisions or skill levels are available within any sport? 

PM: So this year, we have a 3-4 year old tee ball program, that kind of gets us started. And then we do a 5-6 year old coach pitch, it’s a modified t-ball. And then we have a 7-8 year old coach pitch league. Lastly, we do 9, 10, 11 and 12. And then on the girls side, we do an 8 and under, a 10 and under, and we’ve actually combined, we didn’t have a lot of the 15 year olds and under, so we combined our 12 and 15 year olds.

MT: With a background in Dixie Youth Baseball, is the baseball and softball season your favorite time of year at the recreation department?

PM: It’s definitely our biggest season. Between us and Turbeville, we will have about 570 kids. So, that’s a lot of kids. Obviously, I do like baseball, but it’s the participation, that’s the biggest thing. It’s keeping kids active, learning team skills and social skills and, you know, just all the things you learn outside of the actual game. That’s what I think is most important.

MT: What’s do you love about directing the recreation department?

PM: You know, just seeing kids being happy and playing. They’re getting mentorship that they may not be getting at home. Some of these kids have a tough life. In our basketball season, this past year, we had one team in particular. The coach just had a couple of kids that needed somebody to kind of take them under their wings. Just give them some guidance because they were missing that and you see positive results from those relationships.