ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - For the first time in its 40 year history, a youth baseball league in Albemarle County can play games at night thanks to a community coming together and fundraising for a big, new project.

Friday night's Northside Cal Ripken Youth Baseball League game between the Rangers and the Cardinals started like any other with family and friends gathered to watch the boys play. This time, though, the game started much later than usual.

Until Friday, Carson Raymond Field at Hollymead Elementary School in Albemarle County didn’t have any lights.

“If we couldn't get the game in, we'd just stop when it started getting dark and we couldn't see the ball anymore,” said Gannon Murray, sixth grader.

Playing games at night is important for Murray and the other 300 players in the Northside Cal Ripken League because with the population growth in the northern part of Albemarle County, more kinds want to play which means scheduling more games.

“This will give us about 450 extra hours of baseball throughout the year,” said Alice Riccabona of the Cal Ripken League. 

It took over two and a half years to raise the $80,000 needed to buy the lights and get through a long Albemarle County approval process.

That was a good lesson in perseverance and working together.

“There’s more to baseball than just playing baseball and we try to provide life lessons along with the baseball lessons as we go,” said Chris Clarke with the Cal Ripken League.

The league still has to raise money to pay for upkeep on the lights moving forward.

They are partnering with the Charlottesville TomSox to sell special booklets of tickets with most of the proceeds going to the league.

If you are interested in purchasing a TomSox 5-Pack from the Northside Cal Ripken League, email Gene Murray at