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The snow has finally disappeared from Lions Field and the days are beginning to get longer - which means that the 2006 Port Washington Youth Activities' spring sports season has begun.

In its own version of "March Madness," new faces have joined up with seasoned PYA athletes in a full slate of sports that includes baseball, softball, and lacrosse, roller hockey and tennis.

PYA has offered Little League baseball since 1964, and now features three levels - an instructional program for grades K-2, a minor league program for grades 3 and 4, and a major league program for grades 5-7. Jim Cosolito is the commissioner.

The primary purpose for the instructional program is to teach the fundamental skills of baseball, included proper throwing, catching and batting techniques. This program starts on Saturday, April 1, and final registration will be held that day between 9 a.m. to noon.

The minor league is developmental in nature, with emphasis placed on improving upon the fundamentals and putting these skills to use through practice. Fair, balanced teams will be selected and games will be played on Saturdays at noon. The program began March 11 and tryouts continue through March 25 from 12:15 to 3 p.m.

The major league further develops the skills learned in the minor league program. In addition, this level provides an increased participation through competitive pitching, catching, bunting, base stealing and advanced defensive skills. Tryouts began March 11 and continued through March 25 from 9 a.m. to noon. All games will be played on Wednesday and Friday nights.

PYA will also field a Little League World Series team, with players to be selected from the major league teams. These games begin in July, and player groupings will be set by age as of April 30, 2006. An additional fee will be charged to participate in summer travel baseball.

PYA Girls Softball, run by Commissioner and Director Marianne Simoni, is a similar Little League program with age determination as of April 30, 2006. Competition is at the intramural level only in the spring, but travel teams will be assembled for the summer. While final registration has already taken place, new applications will be considered pending roster availability. An instructional level is also available for grades K-2. Games and practices are run Tuesday nights at 6 p.m., and Saturday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m.

The PYA boys and girls lacrosse program began on March 18 and travel teams are fielded through the Nassau County PAL. PYA also runs a developmental program for first and second grade boys - Sundays, 1 to 2:30 p.m., starting April 9; and girls - Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., starting April 8. Chris Avazis and Pam McDonough run this program.

The PYA Roller Hockey program for ages six to 13 years began on March 13, and will run on Mondays from 4 to 7 p.m. through May 22. The program takes place at Manorhaven Park Roller Hockey Rink and sessions cover practices and games. John Lewis is the commissioner.

PYA's Spring Tennis program takes place on Tuesday afternoons from May 2-23. The program, run indoors at the Port Washington Tennis Academy on Harbor Road, serves 8- to 10-year-olds, and runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Due to a large number of candidates expected to apply for 16 player spots with 2 alternates, a lottery drawing will be held on Thursday, April 20 to determine enrollment.

Further information and late registration (if available) forms can be found at Arena Sports Center, 52 Main Street, or Gail's Shoes, 9 Main Street, or by calling PYA Executive Director Ron Henderson at 944-3077. Logo
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