Little League is back in swing after lost year

Jaime DeJesus

Originally published in Brooklyn Reporter

The 68th Precinct Youth Council Little League held its opening day ceremonies on Shore Road and 83rd Street April 17. It was a happy reunion for returning coaches and players who lost the 2020 season to the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis, State Sen. Andrew Gounardes and Councilmember Justin Brannan came to cheer as the kids took the field for the first time in two years.

League Commissioner Tommy Henderson called opening day his favorite holiday and said this one in particular was special for him and the players.

“We faced so many more hurdles and obstacles to make it happen this year,” Henderson said. “Families were understanding and supportive as this year twisted and turned toward opening day. Our kids are tough and resilient and they came out swinging.”

The league has several levels, including t-ball, explorers, minors, junior varsity and varsity. Henderson said membership is up significantly, with a lot of new players in all age groups. 

Bringing the league back to full strength was a collaborative effort. Michael Palumbo, a member of Boy Scout Troop 13 at St. Anselm’s, started a fundraiser to improve facilities at the league’s ballfield. He raised $1,030.

“The 68th Precinct Youth Council is extremely happy to have the Scouts help prepare the fields for baseball,” said League President Harry D’Onofrio. “Michael Palumbo’s Eagle Scout project coincided with our opening perfectly.”

Henderson said a successful start to the season is good for the future of youth sports.

“Hopefully, every kid in the neighborhood can walk away from this with a lifelong love of baseball,” he said.