Volume 23, Number 4 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | June 4 - 10, 2010
Photo courtesy of Norman Kleiman
A player from the DLL team, under the bright lights of Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island.
Downtown-Village split exhibition on pro field
Emails flew around the world of New York City Little League last week as Adam Ottavino, age 25, formerly of Brooklyn’s 78th Precinct Youth League, made his Major League debut as a starting pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Earlier that week, however, some fifty players from Downtown Little League and DLL’s north side neighbor, Greenwich Village Little League, had their own “pro moment.” By special invitation of the Staten Island Yankees, the Class A farm team of the Bronx Bombers, teenaged teams from Greenwich Village and Downtown met in a twin bill of
“friendly” games played under professional conditions at the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island.
With a “border” running along Canal Street, DLL and GVLL are the friendliest of rivals.
“The two leagues are institutionally very close,” said DLL president Tom Merrill. “DLL and GVLL work together to serve our combined based of 1700 kids as best we can. We’re incredibly grateful to the Staten Island Yankees for giving our kids this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
The exhibition games were played on the Yankees’ manicured field with players’ names and pictures being displayed on the outfield Jumbotron scoreboard for each at bat. The kids and parents were also treated to introductions with each plate appearance over the stadium public address system.
Kids from Juniors and Seniors Divisions of the two local Little League affiliates split the doubleheader, with GVLL taking the Juniors exhibition (featuring fourteen-year-old players) and DLL rallying to win the Seniors nightcap. Seniors teams consist of players fifteen and up.
“DLL’s Juniors lost a tough fought game but played competitively,” said Marshal Coleman, coordinator of both games for DLL. “Several kids had an opportunity to pitch and play various positions with each player sitting and cheering his teammates from the dugout for at least one inning. “
“It was really cool to be on a professional field,” added Henry Costello after pitching a scoreless frame for DLL.
In the second game of the doubleheader, DLL’s Seniors squad exacted a measure of revenge, riding a few big innings to a comfortable victory over GVLL. The game marked a fittingly memorable end to the twelve-year Little League careers of a number of Downtowners, including Jess Coleman, Charles Porcaro, and Tommy Nellen.
“Every player from the Seniors team played together for the first time all season and they had a blast,” said DLL Seniors coordinator Mark Bader.