Sports

The Jericho Little League has begun steps to make significant changes to the intramural baseball program to help make the Jericho Little League more competitive and more developmental. The league hopes to challenge the player who already has advanced or above average skills while helping to develop those who need more seasoning and hopes the Jericho Little League program can serve as a feeder system for Jericho High School, and become an integral part of the larger baseball community.

They are also hoping to get more of the community involved in the program and to make the program more user friendly. It is anticipated that changes will be instituted and fully implemented within the next three years. Here are just some of the changes that the community can expect from the Little League program:

*An end of year baseball dinner for all of the participants in the entire Jericho Baseball program. We will use the dinner to give out team trophies, award random baseball related raffle prizes to the children, and get everyone thinking about the past and upcoming seasons with a surprise guest speaker.

*More clinics and instruction. We are kicking off this year's baseball/softball season with a player clinic and a coaches clinic run by the New York Mets Baseball Academy. The coaches clinic is Saturday, Jan. 24 at 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Sam Spring Gym (main gym) at the Jericho High School. The clinic is featuring former New York Met Howard Johnson (HoJo). All coaches wishing to participate must register with Lisag16@aol.com. Only coaches will be allowed to participate, however, all are welcome to attend to watch and meet HoJo.

*We are looking to do further clinics run by the New York Mets Baseball Academy on pitching and catching as the season approaches.

*More involvement with the Jericho High School Baseball Program. We are very fortunate to currently have at the varsity level two energetic, enthusiastic, and extremely knowledgeable coaches who have made a commitment to our youth and travel programs. Head Coach Dan O'Shea and Assistant Coach Vin Mannese both have extensive college baseball experience. They have graciously volunteered to assist the Jericho Little League program as much as possible including running coaches and player clinics, assisting in the set up of a "Big Brother-Little Brother" mentoring program where the Jericho varsity baseball players assist with our youth teams, and, in return, our youth program turns out to games to help support the Jericho varsity team.

*More user friendly. Step one of this process was rolled out with online registration through the JAA's website (www.jaasports.org) We are also trying to schedule fewer weekend games so as to not interfere with all of the various travel sports in the hopes that travel players will then have more time to participate in the Jericho Little League program.

*More involvement from members of the community. The Jericho Little League program wants and needs your involvement, help, participation and support. We are open to any suggestions from the community and we are seeking volunteers to serve on our various committees. For the first time ever, the Jericho Baseball program will be run by an executive oversight committee whose members include Tom Goren, Gary Strauss, Andrew Marshall and Robyn Levy. There are numerous subcommittees where we need your help and involvement.

*Better Baseball and more fun for all! We want your son or daughter to be placed at his or her appropriate level for competition as well as development and we have asked our neighboring communities to assist us by providing teams for the Jericho Little League to play against during the season.

For any volunteers, comments and suggestions, please contact the executive oversight committee at tbrett@optonline.net.


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