Sunday, April 7, 2024

Ashland Little League Dedicates Field to "Coalcracker Pete"

During Ashland Little League's opening day ceremony on Saturday, the organization surprised and paid tribute to a beloved figure in the league's history. 

Pete Kenenitz, fondly known as "Coalcracker Pete," was honored for his remarkable 35-year dedication to coaching by having a field named after him.

The league's Farm field was officially designated as Pete Kenenitz "Coalcracker Pete" Field, commemorating his outstanding contributions to the league. Kenenitz, surrounded by his past players, received the award from Jaden Leiby.

Emcee Ty Wartman, spoke on Kenenitz's impact on the league over the years. "Pete had his inaugural season in 1989 and has embodied the true spirit of baseball, selflessly giving his time, energy, and expertise to shape the lives of countless young athletes," Wartman expressed. "He has not only imparted the skills of the game but also instilled in his players the value of sportsmanship, teamwork, and perseverance."

Kenenitz's influence extended beyond coaching, as he was credited with initiating the organization's fall ball program and serving as an umpire for the same three and a half decades, even officiating games in the Cooperstown tournaments.

It was umpiring outside the coal region where Kenenitz also earned the name "Coalcracker Pete".

Reflecting on his longstanding involvement in coaching, Kenenitz humbly remarked, "I just do it because I like to have fun." His journey began in the late '70s when he coached teener ball, and he continued when his sons joined Little League in the late 1980's. When questioned about his enduring commitment, Kenenitz attributed it to the joy of working with enthusiastic young athletes. "The kids never got any heat off of me. I've always said as long as the kids are trying," he affirmed.

Offering advice to aspiring coaches, Kenenitz emphasized the importance of embracing a youthful mindset. "Bring yourself down, be like a kid," he advised, highlighting the significance of maintaining a sense of fun and playfulness in coaching.

Expressing gratitude for the honor bestowed upon him, Kenenitz extended appreciation to his fellow coaches, acknowledging their collaborative efforts. "If it wasn't for these other coaches coaching with me, I've always gotten the good guys to coach with me," he acknowledged warmly.

Kenenitz shared a story, reflecting on the resilience and spirit of his players. "My kids never cried when they lose, but they cry when they win. We always knew we'd get them next time,"

Story/Photos/Video by J. Reed / Skook News