Andy Lachance has a hard time trying to figure out his favorite moment during his four-year tenure as the Southwestern Youth Association’s Little League Commissioner. Two things stick out in his mind. Both happened during his final year. The first is standing in the artificially lit snack shack at the LLV field at Willow Springs Elementary school on a warm June evening. The next was on a hot summer day in August at St. Petersburg, Fla.
“One is something that you will leave behind for the league to enjoy for years and the other is something that has never been done before,” said Lachance.
When Lachance first took office as Commissioner and executive president of SYA Little League with executive vice president Rob San Martin in Oct. 2003, the first thing that the two did was discuss their goals for SYA LL.
“The biggest goal that we came up with was to get lit fields. We were one of the biggest leagues in Northern Virginia and as far as we knew, we were the only league in Fairfax County that did not have a lit field to play on,” said Lachance.
The two immediately began searching for a worthy field, finding the LLV complex near Willow Springs.
“Lighting is a very challenging and difficult process to accomplish as communities most commonly oppose lighting on fields,” said SYA President Gary L. Flather. “Andy tirelessly attended community meetings, public hearings, and also spoke in front of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors as well as other political entities to ensure that lighting was completed at LLV.”
Through Lachance and San Martin’s efforts, the lights were turned on last June, and after the first slate of games was played, a celebration was held in the snack shack.
“Lighting allows us additional windows in playing time, provides later hours for our kids to stay out of trouble by attending games and learning fundamentals of sportsmanship, teamwork and community pride,” said Flather.
The season that started with lights ended with a trip to Saint Petersburg, Fla. For the Southeast Regional Tournament semifinals. The 11-12 SYA Little League Stars won the state title and, for the first time in SYA history, made it to the regional semifinals.
Lachance was not only a proud commissioner, but also a proud parent, as his son, Kevin Lachance, was a member of the team.
“I am very proud as a father of a child on that team and as someone that helped that team,” said Lachance. “It was an incredible experience for the kids, the coaches and the parents. It was one that none of us will ever forget.”
Both moments from last year stick out in Lachance’s mind while trying to decide his favorite moment during his tenure, which ended when he stepped down last Oct.
Last month, Lachance added another fine memory as he was awarded the SYA President’s Award at the Volunteer Banquet on Saturday, Feb. 9.
“It was a huge honor,” said Lachance.