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Churchill American Little League

Updated Monday January 16, 2017 by MLL.

Churchill American Little League

The league was founded in 1952 as the Melrose American Little League. In 1993 the league was re-named after Phil Churchill, who toiled in the league for over 30 years as manager and President before his death in 1992.

The Melrose American (Churchill) was a member of the District 12 of Massachusetts Little League, which includes Somerville, Everett, Malden, Medford, and Revere. 

The Churchill American All-star team has won the District 12 championship four times, in 1962, 1979, 1983 and 1992.

 

Phil Churchill was the White Sox manager for many years, winning multiple championships, and he took two All-star teams to the Massachusetts State Championship Final Fours. His legacy was not in his incomparable win or loss records, but in his 30 seasons of dedication to the sport of Little League baseball and the kids who played it. Phil loved kids, and kids respected Phil. At the same time, no one relished or rose to the challenge of athletic competition more than Phil.The league was re-named in his honor in May 1993.

Lewis-Monk Memorial Field is named after two American League coaches, Don Lewis and Herb Monk. They were tragically killed in an automobile accident in September 1980. The field itself is actually on Melrose school property, and was the home field for Melrose softball for many years. Herb, aged 40, was a design draftsman at General Electric in Lynn, while Don, age 36 was employed as a financial analyst with Digital Equipment Corporation in Maynard. Together they had over 15 years of managing and coaching experience with Churchill-American Little League. After the tragic death of Don Lewis, his widow Ann Lewis returned to manage the Tigers, and led them to the 1981 championship!

With an initial donation from Digital Equipment Corporation, League officials commenced a total renovation of the Little League field site of the original City of Melrose dump. Under the leadership of President Phil Churchill, Vin Fogarty and John Cinella, a site plan was prepared, submitted and approved by the Melrose School Committee. The infield was raised over 8 inches to ease any water problem, over 60 yards of loam was spread in right field, fencing was installed with an infield warning track, the field was sodded, a trailer type concession stand was created offering the finest in Little League cuisine, dugouts with benches installed; all done at League expense with League volunteers.

The Sponsor sign program was begun in 1983, and the generous support of our sponsors has been a key part of the reason for the success of the league over the last 23 years.   The bleachers at Lewis-Monk were also installed that year, the bleachers themselves were a class project for the welding class from the Northeast Vocational school.

The batting cage was built in 1989, with a bullpen area added in 1990.  A new concession stand was built in 1989, from half of a standard shipping container, the other half of that container serves as the concession stand for West Medford Little League.

An electronic scoreboard donated by Thor Roofing Company, a loud speaker system, and sprinkler with electric timer were added in 1991.  In 1993 the outfield fence was relocated to be at least 202' from home plate to enable tournament play during the summer.   Lewis-Monk has served as a popular site of many District 12 tournament games every summer since then.

In May 2001, a little league team from the Netherlands arrived for a week of international baseball.  The Dutch ballplayers challenged the Churchill American League teams in a series of games.  In addition they traveled to Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium to see Major League games, with another side trip to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown NY.  

Over the years, the Churchill American League has raised over $60,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as part of its participation in the summer Jimmy Fund tournament.  This includes the single season record of $10,000 in 2001.

In 2002 the Batting cages were re-done in a project led by President Mark Ordway.    The main funds for this major project were raised in a special fund raiser arranged by Cecil Jones and Bobby McVicar.

In 2004 the Lewis-Monk field went under another major renovation as a result of a city sponsored drainage project that tore up much of the field.  During this renovation the dugouts were rebuilt and roofed, and new mesh was placed on the backstop.  The league also contributed to the cost of the repair of the field after the end of the drainage project.  These renovations continued a long standing league tradition of volunteer service and contribution to field improvement.  President Tom McDermott led the effort during this major upgrade.