Top of the Morning, May 7, 2017

Top of the Morning, May 7, 2017

Click here for the 2017 schedule.

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When Mark Schultz first began calling Little League baseball games on WDWS 1400-AM, he had plenty of help when it came to pronouncing names of the 12-year-olds in the batter’s box.

From their parents.

“This was before podcasts so everyone at the game had their radio with them,” Schultz said. “If I’d mispronounce a kid’s name, you’d have mom or dad tap you on the shoulder before their next at-bat. It was funny — and fun.”

For years, WDWS has broadcast C-U Kiwanis Little League games. The magical, folksy tradition — introduced by Eric Loy and Schulz — began around the time the league celebrated its 50th year in 1999.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, current WDWS announcer Tim Ditman will unveil on his blog at news-gazette.com the 2017 schedule. A host of radio talent — including Alli Adams, the first female voice of C-U Little League — will call games starting May 15 and ending with the June 28 championship.

Schultz, at WDWS until 2006, enjoyed the community engagement that came with the project — even in real time.

“I was calling a game at Eisner Park when a kid took a 1-2 pitch for a ball, and I said he had a really good eye,” said Schultz, 45 and living in Mahomet. “He stepped out of the box, turned to me and gave me a thumb’s up. He had heard me say it on the radio.”

Thousands of boys and girls can relate.

“What makes it so neat? Kids love to hear their names called on the radio, just like their heroes had their names by Jack Buck and Harry Caray,” Schultz said. “The idea was to have something that kids and their families and their coaches could enjoy. But I never would have thought it would catch on like it did.”

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