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Van Nest Little League Partners With SI Yanks For Fundraiser

Van Nest Little League is partnering with the Baby Bombers to raise money for its 2012 season.

The league is selling tickets to the Staten Island Yankees game on Saturday, July 2. It will be able to keep a portion of the proceeds, which league organizers plan to put towards new equipment for next year. League board member Joe DeFazio set the fundraiser in motion back in December, when spikes, grass and leather mitts were far from most people’s minds.

“Not everyone was thinking about baseball, but we certainly were,” DeFazio said. “I was just reaching out to different organizations to get some sort of contributions, whether it be tangible items or money. The Staten Island Yankees got back to me and gave me some background on their fundraisers for schools, churches and little leagues.”

Within the next month, DeFazio and the rest of the league board sat down with representatives from the Yankees’ short-season-A affiliate and went over their options.

The board members chose the package that gave them 260 tickets to sell, plus the proceeds from the 50-50 raffle held during the game. The $25 tickets include all-you-can eat burgers, hot dogs and sandwiches until the seventh inning, plus soft drinks, a Staten Island Yankees hat, program and post-game fireworks display.

So far the league has sold about 200 of the tickets. DeFazio says he expects to bring in about $4,000 dollars if they sell out. All proceeds will go to running the league next year.

“We have two pressing needs,” DeFazio said. “One is just overall operating costs, but the big one is equipment.”

Bats, gloves and catchers gear all run in the triple digits, and most don’t last very long.

“Even though we only play for three months, things like the catchers equipment and helmets get worn out from year-to-year,” he said. “Bats, baseballs, they all get pretty beat up. We try to squeeze as much life out of them as we can but sometimes you just can’t do that.”

Despite being on the opposite end of the city, DeFazio said the distance from the Van Nest area to Staten Island has not been a deterrent, mainly because parking at Richmond County Bank Ballpark is painless.

There is also one other draw. The Staten Island Yankees are playing the Brooklyn Cyclones, a Mets affiliate, so even in the NY-Penn League, the cross town rivalry will be fierce.

“We chose that day because its Staten Island Yankees against the Brooklyn Cyclones,” DeFazio said. “We have a pretty even amount of Yankees and Mets fans throughout the league.”

Anyone interested in in the fundraiser can contact DeFazio at (646) 633-1048.

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