Before the start of the 2012 season, CNMI Little League district administrator James Ada announced plans of stepping down after 17 years serving the local organization that fosters America’s pastime.
While he will officially hang his hat when the season ends in October, Ada was honored during the closing ceremony of this year’s CNMI Little League District Tournament when he received a commemorate resolution from the Senate for his years of service.
The resolution praised Ada as a role model for the youth in the community. His successor, Mike Borja, was also honored during the closing ceremony.
According to the Senate resolution, Ada served as Little League vice president in 1992, player agent in 1993, was declared Far East Regional Tournament director from 1999 to 2001, attended the 2010 Little League Baseball Congress held in Ottawa, Canada, served as a board member during the 2002 ASPAC in Guam and was named an advisor of the event in 2003.
He was also unanimously voted in as a member of the Little League Baseball International Board Of Directors in Guam in 2004 and went on to serve again as an ASPAC advisor in 2005 and 2008.
In an interview last week, Ada reflected on some of the most memorable moments during his lengthy tenure as district administrator.
According to Ada, his first big accomplishment was re-chartering the Saipan Little League’s Senior and Big divisions back in 1997, which resulted in the Big League’s first-ever appearance in the Little League World Series as lone representatives of what was known at the time as the Far East region in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Then in 1998, the CNMI Big Leaguers defeated host team Guam to outright advance for the first time to the World Series and followed it up with another series berth over Guam in 1999 in Palau, proving the program’s previous success was no fluke.
In other divisions, Ada reflected back to the Junior Division’s run where they raised five consecutive Asia-Pacific Regional championships from 2001 to 2005.
During that reign, 2004 was probably the most memorable as three CNMI teams-Majors, Juniors, and Seniors-advanced to the World Series. The Big League came up just a run short to Guam that season.
Ada added that the CNMI won the Big League regional championship in 2001, 2007, and 2008, while the Senior League brought home the goods in 2010.
In addition to witnessing the success of the CNMI teams in an international forum, Ada also was fortunate to meet a number of poplar baseball figures during his time as a Little League International board member from 2004 to 2007.
Ada shook hands with some household names such as Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig, New York Yankees’ Mike Mussina, former Dodgers skipper Tommy Lasorda, hall of famer Joe Morgan, esteemed MLB manager Bobby Valentine, and former pitcher Orel Hershiser, among others.
In addition to the 17 years as district administrator, Ada actually has been involved with Little League for 26 years and has held virtually every position from coaching to umpiring, keeping score, acting as announcer, statistician, and even wrote some sports articles for the newspaper back in the day.
He coached the Major League all-stars in 1983, the Senior all-stars in 1986, and the Big League all-stars in 1988.
Meanwhile, his successor, Borja, holds an impressive resume as well, which includes over 20 years of service to the local Little League program.
Borja started volunteering in 1989 and has since served two terms as Saipan Little League president. He was also named the ASPAC director six times.
Borja also directed multiple CNMI District tourneys, served as SLLB vice president, and participated in the Little League International’s Officer Development Training Program in 2005.
He was recently voted in as the new district administrator in a vote of 2-1 over longtime Little League supporter Patrick Tenorio, who was the only other candidate who submitted a resume for the position.
Borja will takeover from Ada on Oct. 1 and he will serve a three-year term.