TN Little League parade Saturday

Julian Acosta, 10, walloped ball after ball during little league batting practice on Thursday, April 9. Acosta plays first base. Photo by Victor Chu

Hey, batter! Hey, batter batter! Break out your lawn chair, break in your mitt and prepare to cheer, because another season of Throgs Neck Little League is here.

At noon on Saturday, April 18, the 57th annual Throgs Neck Little League parade will wind from Lafayette Avenue down E. Tremont Avenue to Lawton Avenue, and from Lawton to Throggs Neck Boulevard.

“The parade is an indication of spring,” said league secretary Frank Eisele.

In 2009, the league will field six tee ball teams, six school league teams, six junior minors teams, four junior majors teams, three senior minors teams, three senior majors teams and one big league team – more than 400 players in all.

“We have about as many players as last year,” Eisele said. “But a lot of children signed up for tee ball – always a good sign.”

The parade and Opening Day ceremony will honor longtime league manager and board member Joseph Tucci, who passed away in 2008. It will also honor U.S. combat veterans and league graduates stationed abroad. A number of league graduates back from Afghanistan and Iraq will march in the parade. A veteran will throw out the first pitch. The league has dedicated its spring journal to Tucci.

Six games are scheduled for Saturday – four on the junior field and two on the senior field. On Sunday, April 19, games will run from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m.

A handful of elected officials, including U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, Councilman James Vacca and Queens Councilman Anthony Wiener will attend Saturday’s parade. Congressman Joseph Crowley will send a representative. All Throggs Neck merchants are invited.

Last fall, the league resoded the minors infield. The league recently added dirt to its majors field and installed breakaway bases. The bases are a safety precaution; when a player slides, the bases pop up.

“We’re enthusiastic,” player agent Bob Ferrara said. “We have a good minors infield, a good majors outfield. The grass is lush. We’re painting all around.”

In 2008, the league dedicated its majors field to current president Robert Jonap and its minors field to longtime league booster Leo Vitti. The players began practice last week.

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