The Throggs Neck Girls Softball League finally has its field of dreams.
After a multi-year fundraising drive, the league reached its goal of $16,000 and will now play its games on a brand-new clay infield, instead of the pothole-riddled grass field it had previously been using. Construction on the new field was completed on Friday, July 29 and the inaugural games were played the following Monday. The fundraising charge was led mainly by John Scanlon, owner of Pelham Bay Home Center.
He started in summer 2010, with a charity softball game between members of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association and league coaches. Scanlon organized a second game this June, but when all was said and done, they were about $2,000 short.
That’s when Pat Devine and the American Legion Korony Post 253 stepped in.
“I already knew that the post would do it,” Devine said. “But I wanted to officiate it so I went in and put in the final proposal that we donate to the softball league. They reached the goal.”
Devine has had a long-standing relationship with the league. He is chairperson of Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park, where the field is located.He served as grand marshal of its 2010 opening day parade and is a frequent spectator at games.
Flush from the sale of the building it once owned, the post distributes about $30,000 to northeast Bronx causes each year. Devine said he has always considered the league’s administrators special, largely because of their tenacity.
“They’re doing a great job,” he said. “They will not be denied.”
Naturally, league president Rachel Mazza was thrilled about the new field.
“It’s so beautiful,” Mazza said. “It’s like night and day. It’s going to be so great for the kids because the old infield had that bumpy grass and it used to take those crazy hops right in their faces.”