18 July, 2015. On a sunny Saturday morning at the newly renovated baseball field located in Children’s Park, Chestnut Ridge, New York, the American Amatuer Baseball Congress [AABC] League played their championship elimination games. The age of the players range from 7- 11 years old. These kids played with the discipline, dedication and intensity of any major leaguer at the World Series.
Team names like, Rockland Elite [8u], Clarkstown Stars [8u], Brooklyn Blue-Storms [7u/8u], Brooklyn Bonnies [8u], CP Stars [8u] were here to play in the AABC World Series elimination series, where the top four teams will advance to Waterbury, Ct. to decide who is the best in New York State.
It was an intense game out of four when the Brooklyn Blue-Storms [7u] played their hearts out against Brooklyn Bonnies. It was a tug of war that was decided by a line drive to bring in the winning run for the Brooklyn Bonnies making it 4 -3.
After their customary line up for congratulatory handshakes the Brooklyn Blue-Storms each ran the bases to the cheers of their parents and supporters. The lesson in good sportsmanship and fairplay was evident by both sides of parents applauding the losing team.
Later on in the afternoon, the game win advancement to the finals went to the Brooklyn Bluestorms. Power hits into center field, line drives down the base-line, base – stealing, impeccable pitching by#29 David Hinojosa and #5 Nico Marino, in tandem with versatile right field coverage by his cousin #8 Mateo Marino, as well as, laser beam focus by team catcher, 8 year old Arelius Vendrell, helped to bring their team to a hard fought victory.
Frank Randazzo is an Umpire with the Bronx Umpires Alliance for 8 years. “Frank the Umpire” has a voice that boomed across the field; “saaafeeee” or “heeezzzz outttt!” with unmistakably smooth hand gestures communicating each irreversible call.
Anthony Costello, Manager, Rockland Elite [8u] has been coaching and managing little league baseball for 27 years. His dedication and love for the game sums it all up when he stated; “It’s all about the kids.”
Erick Morel, Coach for the CP Stars [College Point, Queens, NY] recounted the story of one of the 8 year old players was upset with himself because he finished the game with only 2 home-runs and not 3 as he wanted. Coach Morel explained to him there are major league players who do not finish a game with any runs, let alone 2 runs in one game. This is an example of the level of devotion to the game they bring with them.
Matthew Rivera, Congers, New York, is the Manager of the Clarkstown Stars for 10 years. The Clarkstown Stars organization took on the campaign to raise money from local businesses, parents, and residents to invest in renovations for the under-utilized ball-field at Children’s Park in Chestnut Ridge. Hat tip to everyone who made it possible. Clarkstown Stars website
Matthew Rivera is a dedicated coach and in charge of player development for his Clarkstown Stars organization. He conferred with CP Stars parents Louie and Diane Roopnarine, whose son, 9 year old Leon Roopnarine, player #17 was playing his first season. “We wanted him to experience the travel, the training, the intense competition and teach him the game” said Diane Roopnarine. Louie Roopnarine was cheering his son and was speaking with Matthew Rivera about upcoming games.
Charlie Avery is the AABC Charter Commissioner responsible for running the league in Rockland and Westchester Counties. He has been involved with this organization for 27 years. “We do this for the kids, it teaches them sportsmanship and good conduct on and off the field“; he said. Coaches Anthony Costello and Matthew Rivera adamantly affirmed that Charlie Avery has been a driving force behind the success of these events for decades.
The major renovations and proper utilization made to this baseball field came about thanks to the generosity of so many people organized by the Clarkstown Stars organization, led by Matthew Rivera. They have helped to make this baseball field accessible to so many kids from New York City, Bergen County, New Jersey, Rockland and Westchester Counties.
Perhaps this small patch of sod, sand, and base bags may not be a field of dreams in a Hollywood movie, but it is a field where dreams of baseball heroism come true each time they hear “Frank the Umpire” bellow; “play Ballllll”. The tiniest of them become baseball Titans at the crack of the bat, to the sound of wild cheers as they are running the bases, to finally hear; “saaaafeee!” while making the winning homerun.
Honorable mention must go to each and every one of the dedicated volunteer coaches, assistants, parents supporting their respective teams and event organizers. They demonstrated good sportsmanship, imparted infectious enthusiasm for the game, promoted respect for each of the team – players, and made possible the dreams of baseball champions on a beautiful day at Children’s Park Ball Field in Chestnut Ridge, New York. They are all welcome back any-time.