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2020-2021 Board of Directors Candidate Bios

Board of Directors Candidates 2021-2022

August 15, 2021 Election

1. Tamara Anderson

With two boys obsessed with baseball in the house, it is hard not to join in all the fun! While I never
played Little League baseball or softball as a child, I spent my life playing many sports and was a
Division I volleyball player at the University of Virginia. My older son began playing Little League in
Coach Pitch and his little brother shortly followed suit. After several exciting seasons, I have truly
appreciated the opportunity to watch my boys gain confidence, create long-lasting friendships, and
improve their knowledge of the game.

Seeing how much my kids have enjoyed each season and knowing they have many years to participate in SMLL,
I would like to remain on the Board in order to propel its continued success and continue to make our League one
of the strongest in California.  Little League provides so many benefits to children and parents alike, which inspires
me to be of service in any way that I can. I am excited for the possibility participating for another year on the
SMLL Board and helping to ensure that all children continue to be afforded the chance of experiencing
the magic that is Santa Monica Little League. Thank you for your consideration!

2. Michael Balsley

Hello, my name is Michael Balsley and I have been involved with SMLL since 2008 as a coach,
manager, parent, fan, and Communications Director on the Board of Directors. This past year I served
as our President, and has it been one heck of a year.

At this time last year, my hopes were to develop a passionate core of volunteers who could expand post
season success and player development, deepen community development within the city of Santa
Monica, prioritize balanced teams, support a dynamic and successful All-Star and post season
program, focus more attention on developmental and junior divisions, and better celebrate the
community-building values of Little League baseball. We were also well on the way to laying
groundwork for a new Memorial park, a project 20 years in the making, that SMLL and local diamond
sports advocates finally got off the ground. Things were looking up.... then we all sheltered in place for
the next four months.

In the past three months, we have fought hard for youth sports and for our kids, holding out hope and
creating the structures that could be there if and when we were safe to return. We are all still holding
our breath for normal. I would consider it a privilege to continue to work for the kids who love baseball
and serve another year with this fantastic board of like-minded volunteers.

I love baseball and hope to give back to the league that has served my three sons so well for over a
decade. Thank you for your consideration, as I hope to serve everyone to the best of my abilities.

3. Mickey Blaine

Recently I was able to take my son to the baseball diamond I played little league baseball on. I pointed out the Snack Shack, where I used to love getting Snow Cones after a hot day. I showed him the field next to the diamond where I used to play before and after games under a thousand power lines. He was in awe. We shared a moment I never knew we would share - a common interest and a love of baseball, America's pastime. Unfortunately, my baseball career ended at age 8. Fortunately, my 10-year-old son is a better ball player than I ever was, and I have Santa Monica Little League to thank for that. I've been coaching in SMLL since my son was in coach pitch - by accident. Our coach went away for two weeks, so another father and I stepped in to help out, and I've never looked back. The importance of this little game we play really came to light for me this year as I cautiously stepped onto a field in a mask to greet 12 masked kids, standing six feet from each other, playing with other kids for the first time in months. It wasn't long before those kids were lit up with huge smiles (I'm assuming they were smiling under the masks).The camaraderie, teamwork, focus and calculation that goes into this physical and mental sport truly gives kids lessons they can use for the rest of their lives. As a teacher of 17 years, it has been my honor to be a part of teaching those lessons through coaching. Each year I think it will be my last year, that I will move beyond my capabilities as a coach, but each year my son's enthusiasm (and the enthusiasm of his teammates) pushes me to challenge myself and learn more. As an educator and lifelong learner, I live for these challenges. And I live for the day my son takes his kid to Memorial Park to point out where he played baseball. I can't wait to hear him talk about all the flavors of Big League Chew he bought from the Snack Shack, and how he would skate at the Cove before or after a game. It's for these reasons, these memories, that I would like to be part of the Santa Monica Little League Board of Directors: to dedicate my time and energy to provide these memories for other Santa Monica children.

4. Jill Cipresso

This is my 4th year with SMLL and I look forward to helping our amazing baseball community continue to thrive. Growing up in Chicago as a Cubs fan - I’ve become the eternal  baseball optimist!  

My son, Luca (Majors), has played competitive soccer since he was 5 and each year I’ve been his team manager. He was drawn to SMLL because of the incredible community and the chance to play sports with friends from school! As the years have gone on, we’ve met so many wonderful families while growing our baseball family at the same time. 

Competitive sports are in our blood. I grew up figure skating nationally and internationally - winning a National Championship and finishing 6th at Worlds. I took my love of sports into coaching youth skaters for nearly 20 years.  My philosophy has always been about the growth of the athlete over results. Team sports teach life lessons that they will utilize into adulthood. 

4. Rick Eastland

I was born in Santa Monica over 40 years ago and grew up playing baseball on the east coast. I love
this game, and I love this city.

My son’s little league journey began at Memorial with tee-ball in 2015. The next season, I reluctantly
checked the willing volunteer box on the application, and I’m so glad I did that. I’ve since served as
Head Coach for 6 SMLL teams, including the 2018 AA Champions.

I strive to give our kids an opportunity to fall in love with and show their passion for the game in a
safe and fun environment. This league has rewarded my family with many great baseball memories
and lasting friendships, and I believe that another year of board service is the best way I can give back
to the organization that has given me and my family so much.

6. Noah Graff

I have been part of Santa Monica Little League for the past ten years, having Managed from T-Ball
through Juniors and several All-Stars seasons. I have always considered baseball and, specifically,
Little League to be an important part of the community. It's such a beautiful game, and coaching my
son and other kids has brought me great joy. I also have served as Commissioner of AA, AAA, and
Majors, and worked closely with different Player Agents. Over that time, I came to understand that a
smooth season and ease of play cannot happen without the diligent efforts and care of the Board,
especially the Player Agent. One of the most important roles of the Player Agent is to act as the player
advocate and first point of contact for any player issue. I know how important this is, and do not make
this commitment lightly. I look forward to the opportunity to help ensure our players have a good

7. Mark Hyatt

Mark is a lifetime fan of baseball due to literally growing up in major league clubhouses. His father personally knew dozens of professional MLB players in the 1970s. Since then, Mark has remained dedicated to the game, the benefits of youth sports, and to the wellness of individuals as a whole. He has not only successfully coached youth teams but he is also an accredited life coach for adults. His patience on the field is a function of believing that anything is possible with the right attitude, support, and opportunities. As a prospective board member, two of his focuses could be expanding involvement for more players aged 13 and up and then an increased focus on providing more opportunities to disadvantaged and at-risk youth within the Santa Monica community. He serves on two non-profit boards for veterans already and has personally worked with over fifty different non-profit organizations, including top youth education and athletic programs, like Cal Ripken Foundation and After-School All-Stars.

8. David Jurenka

This is my 6th year serving as a head coach in SMLL, including managing 10 different teams across
Spring and Fall leagues. I’ve had the immense pleasure of coaching my 3 children’s teams 20+ times
in the past 10 years (Seattle, Manhattan Beach, Santa Monica) across baseball, softball, soccer, and
basketball. The opportunity to coach my children and their teammates has truly been the privilege of
a lifetime. Growing up, I played multiple sports, including baseball from as far back as I can
remember, throughout high school, and into college (football). When led by those who can see beyond
the field, sports can serve as a powerful vehicle to teach invaluable life skills. Commitment, discipline,
respect, teamwork, friendship, competition, and fun to name a few. I have done my best to impart
these same elements while coaching. My goal in joining the SMLL Board is to serve my community
beyond coaching so that our families, and especially our children, can continue to have a high-quality
experience on and off the field. I respect the efforts by those that have served and continue to serve
on the SMLL Board and would welcome an opportunity to serve in the future. Thank you for your

9. Travis McCann

Our family has lived in California since 2005 (mostly in LA), in Santa Monica since 2017. We were lucky to get involved with the SMLL during the spring 2021 season, my wife and I as coaches, and our son in his first Machine Pitch season. We fell in love with the league - it was hard work, fun and rewarding, and reminded us after a long lockdown how positive and bright youth sports are in our lives. 

In SMLL we met a community of volunteers who were motivated by the desire to make the player's experience as great as it could be, and we are inspired by all the work that goes on behind the scenes. It would be an honor to serve that group in whatever way I can, and I am grateful for your consideration to join the board.  If elected, I will work to ensure a safe, healthy, positive, and inclusive player experience across the league, and am eager to give back to the community that has been so warm to our family.

10. Jose Nuño

I have been involved with Santa Monica Little League as a player since 2008, and as an umpire since
the spring of 2012. I have also served SMLL as a coach for 2 seasons and am concluding my second
year as the Chief of Umpires on the Board of Directors. I have also run several pitching clinics
throughout the years. Since becoming an umpire, it has evolved into not just a job, but a passion and
new classroom of opportunity. In 2015, I joined the District 25 umpire staff and started working games
in multiple leagues. In 2016, I umpired All-Star tournaments at the district, section, sub-division, and
state level. Beginning in 2017, I also joined the National Federation of High School Umpires for the
City Section of Los Angeles. I have spent years studying the rules, interpretations of rules, in game
handling techniques, and proper officiating mechanics. Continuing in my position on the Board
represents an opportunity for me to raise the level of officiating for all the participants in SMLL.
Stronger levels of officiating would lead to smoother games, as well as a better trust and communication
between all parties on and off the field.

11. Susan Patelson

Our family has been involved in Santa Monica youth sports since our son was in T-K. We have been
with SMLL since T-Ball along with AYSO and other school/city sponsored sports. I was the division
commissioner for three years at AYSO. My husband has always volunteered with coaching for SMLL
for Logan’s teams. In addition to being an assistant on Logan’s team this year, he was a head coach
for a “Coach-Pitch” team in SMLL. I have been the official scorekeeper for our son’s teams for the past
three years. We are an extremely active and involved family and try to instill in our son the value of
team sports, commitment and giving back. Two years ago I participated on the SMLL Board as Safety
Director – ensuring that all volunteers had background checks, received appropriate safety training
and updated our safety manual to be compliant with Little League International standards. This past year, I served as the secretary for the league. I want to
remain involved on the SMLL board and provide any help to our league as possible.

12. Elisabeth Perez

Hi, my name is Elisabeth Perez. I have been involved in SMLL for 14 years. This past year I served in
my third year on the Board as the Concessions Manager. The job was so rewarding and I feel I was
able to institute many ideas that I have had while sitting in the stands. The Snack Shack had
an amazing year and now offers some healthy options. I instituted a “Snack Pack” program to help
busy parents provide snacks for their teams and at the same time earn more revenue for the Shack. I
also began to dig into the Fan Wear realm and hope to expand this in future years. I am still so
passionate about the league although my children have both aged out. We are a baseball family and
have been through a lot of wins, a couple of championships and many losses through our years at
Memorial and being here has taught us all so much. I look forward to another year full of opportunities
to contribute. I hope I can continue to have an impact on a community that I love so much and has
given so much back to my family.

13. Peter Riche

I grew up in West Los Angeles, and have lived in Santa Monica for over 27 years.  Memorial Park is 
my family's second home. 

Youth sports, baseball specifically, have always played a special role in my life as well as my family's. 
I grew up and played many years of baseball, soccer, and football. Since my son was 5 years old, I have
actively been a manager, coach, co-coach and volunteer for SMLL.  I am rarely ever as happy as when I
am on a baseball field.  Volunteering, contributing to the league and the community has brought great joy
to my family and to me.  I love the game of baseball.  I love teaching baseball, sportsmanship, values,
character, integrity, team play, and subliminally instilling the similarities that life and baseball have in common.  
My mantra has always been, "Did your child have fun?  Did they learn and improve?  Do they want to play
again next year?" If the answers are yes, that is the best win of all.  

As stated earlier, the Santa Monica community, the league, the players, the parents have all given so much
to my son Jesse, and my family.  Being on the board is another way for me to continue to give back, and have
a voice in helping to evolve the league for future parents and players.

I hope that I am given the opportunity to continue to be a member of the SMLL Board, and to contribute to the future of the
players, the parents, the league, and of our community.  

Thank you for your time and your consideration.

14. Cameron Rodriguez

Over the past five years, I have had the fortune to manage or assistant coach each of my three boys' teams in baseball as well as soccer.  I would sum up my philosophy about youth sports and coaching as "it is about the kids."  I firmly believe that playing team sports are important to helping our children develop both physical and mentally--from learning the importance of practice, to dealing with adversity, to pushing oneself, to supporting fellow teammates, and, of course, learning how to lose as well as win.  It has been a true joy to see my boys and their teammates develop these skills while playing baseball.  But what I enjoy most about SMLL is the community.  Kids want to go to the field even if they are not playing to support their friends, cheer on siblings, and just for the random pickup game.  Even in the craziness of this last year, we all came together (adults and kids) and figured out how to make it work.  Little league gave some normality when we had little.  In addition to coaching in this next coming year, I hope to join the SMLL board where I can contribute to further building our community and instilingl the love of the game in the kids playing now and the future SMLL players to come. Thanks for your consideration.

15. Jasan Sherman

I have been involved in SMLL for over 8 seasons, since my son was in T-Ball. I have coached and managed
several teams, including Spring, Fall Ball and Summer programs and was just elected to my third
year coaching an All-Star team. My son is now in Juniors where I served as an assistant coach to the team that made it to State. I am going into
my eighth year on the Board, having served as President for five years and now two as the Uniforms
Director. It has been a pleasure to be part of the SMLL community. I have a passion for teaching the
kids to develop their skills as well as a true love for the game. I believe that Little League offers so
many valuable life lessons beyond just the game. Little League is a great place for kids to learn how
to have fun, work hard, be part of a team and develop confidence. It's an honor to work with the other
parents on the Board. I look forward to continuing to serve and working together to build an even
stronger community for everyone.

16. Michael Waterstone

My name is Michael Waterstone. My wife, Julie, and I have three children: Ava (14), Jack (12), and
Sammy (6). I have enjoyed coaching my sons throughout their Little League experience (and my
daughter in SMGF), from t-ball all the way through helping out in Majors. I love that our league
creates a sense of community, bringing people from all over Santa Monica together. SMLL creates
friendships and bonds for players and families that span from elementary school until high school.
As a coach and volunteer and now after finishing my second year as the Sponsorships Director on the
SMLL Board, I have always had a simple philosophy: everyone should have fun, learn some baseball
skills, and most importantly, want to play again next season. If elected to serve on the Board for
another year, I would continue to do my best to ensure that everyone’s experience is a good one, and
that our league is run in a fair, inclusive, manner that continues to bring our community together.

Board Of Directors 2021 / 2022


Michael Balsley[email protected]
Vice President 

David Jurenka
[email protected]
Chief of Umpires

Jose Nuño
[email protected]

Jill Cipresso
[email protected]

Peter Riche
[email protected]

Mark Hyatt
[email protected]

Cameron Rodriguez
[email protected]
Player Agent

Noah Graff
[email protected]

Tamara Anderson
[email protected]
Safety Officer

Mickey Blaine
[email protected]

Susan Patelson
[email protected]
Snack Shack

Elisabeth Perez
[email protected]

Michael Waterstone

[email protected]

Rick Eastland
[email protected]

Jasan Sherman
[email protected]

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PO Box 3152 
Santa Monica, California 90408

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