Friday, 04 November 2011 00:00
As Syosset Baseball Association (SBA) concludes another successful year of youth baseball in the community, the year-end Annual Awards Dinner at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury approaches on Nov. 7.
The season started just after last year’s awards dinner where Hall of Fame Pitcher Goose Gossage was the featured guest speaker to over 500 players and parents at The Crest Hollow Country Club. Shortly thereafter, several board members had the privilege of meeting new registrants during in-person registration for the Spring ’09 intramural season. As registration concluded, managers and coaches were put together by the SBA Board of Directors and notified them of their appointments for the upcoming year.
Towards the end of January into the beginning of February, the 9-12-year-old divisions went through an evaluation process to assess their skills in preparation for the upcoming drafts. Drafts to form the 2011 intramural teams took place the last week in February as equipment bags were assembled and put together in preparation for the managers to pickup prior to the start of opening day.
The games started on a cold March evening, featuring a rematch of the 2010 Championship game: Bagel Master, managed by Jay Schuster versus L&L Painting, managed by Ross Levine. This opening day game started off with Bagel Master taking the lead with L&L Painting continuing to make comebacks with Bagel Master finally prevailing in this exciting start to the season.
Throughout the season, under the direction of board members Larry Meltzer and Doug Mayer, an assembled group of volunteers, board members, managers, coaches and parents worked fields with rakes and quick-dry each and every day that the rains tried to dampen the season. Thanks to them, most games were played throughout the season.
Once again, Topps hosted a site at Stillwell fields, for all players to attend and receive free baseball cards of the Topps ATTAX game and have a chance to compete against Topps representatives. Now that the regular season had started, the events for the season were well underway with clinics and picture day taking place for the 5-and 6-year-old T-Ball Divisions at the beginning of May.
The traditional Memorial Day All-Star games and Picnic took place without a hitch as games for the 8-year-old through senior divisions took place throughout the day under the sunny skies. Executive director of travel, Artie Johansen, the Memorial Weekend Picnic Chairman, had plenty of food for the hungry players and families with several board members assisting throughout the day manning the grills. Bagel Master of Syosset was extremely accommodating in providing complimentary bagels and coffee for the opening 8-year-old all-star games. A dunk tank and moon bounce provided entertainment for those younger children as well. A cotton candy machine, with complimentary cotton candy for all was a new addition and big hit. Hall of Fame Pitcher, the San Francisco Giants’ Gaylord Perry was on hand to greet players and parents and was gracious and accommodating with autographs and photos. Quackerjack, The Long Island Ducks mascot, also found his way to Syosset-Woodbury Park to mingle with the crowd for a few hours and enjoy the days’ games. A special thanks goes out to the volunteers and to Gio Graceffe from the Syosset Volunteer Fire Department for their help and assistance throughout the day.
The evening finished off with the Third Annual Turnpike Challenge games between the 9-10-year-old division and the 11-12-year-old division. As an honor as well as a special treat, various members of the Armed Forces who have served the country presented the colors. Members from the United States Air Force and Navy were on hand throughout the entire afternoon to proudly hold the American flag during the National Anthem. A special thank you goes out to Sergeant Derek Bishop of the Air Force for arranging and coordinating the efforts of these decorated members of the Armed Forces in joining SBA on this day. A contingent of SBA players and families followed up the day’s festivities with a representation in the town Memorial Day parade through the town of Syosset on Memorial Day.
The SBA sends out a special thank you to Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto and his staff for all their help and support throughout the year in working with SBA field maintenance team to help build and maintain the fields. The SBA also thanks Charles Abner, director of facilities for Syosset Central School District and his staff for all their help and support throughout the year in working with field maintenance team to help build and maintain the Syosset School District Fields.
The playoffs started at the beginning of June, finally crowning champions in 9-year-old through senior division leagues. This year, junior and senior leagues will be presented their awards at the upcoming awards dinner, as opposed to prior years when they received them on the field. Summer travel started the day after the school concluded with travel teams taking the fields throughout the tri-state area in respective games in the 8-through-17-year-old divisions.
Syosset was represented in Cooperstown again this year with a team supervised by Frank Balogh and Jay Schuster. This team enjoyed the event as they worked their way through the 108 team assembly of teams from all over the United States, exchanging pins, playing, living and sleeping baseball throughout the week. Thanks go out to all those families that helped support the Cooperstown team in 2011. The 2012 team is now assembling for their journey to Cooperstown next summer.
The Long Island Ducks hosted the SBA and honored the AAA Division Champions, Ferrari’s Auto Body, prior to the start of the game on Sept. 11. The team enjoyed the privilege of holding the American Flag at home plate alongside Ducks and Newark Bears players and coaches, umpires and the Ducks’ staff.
Besides hosting travel teams, the fall season saw over 200 players playing in the fall Bethpage baseball league with many games being played on Syosset fields. It’s now fall and with the World Series completed and football and hockey beginning, another season winds down. The tradition will continue at this week’s Annual Awards Dinner, acknowledging the accomplishments 2011 with trophies awarded to the 9-12-year-old first-place teams, champions and runner-ups. Additionally, participation acknowledgement plaques will be awarded to all travel players, summer and fall.
This year’s dinner will feature a silent auction of memorabilia and raffles. As always, a featured guest speaker will address the group with a limited amount of favors available to all eligible paying players.
Registration information for the awards dinner is available on the website www.syossetbaseball.org with registration fee at $40 per guest for advance registration. The walk-in registration fee will be $50 per guest the day of the event and will not guarantee space or a guest favor.
A special note of appreciation goes out to the entire SBA board of directors for their hard work of countless volunteer hours to make each year a memorable baseball experience for each and every player and family in the association. A hearty thank you also goes out to those parents who have volunteered their time to manage and coach throughout the season.
None of this can happen without sponsors, as their financial contribution to the league provides the resources to bring this great game to this community, so the SBA wishes to thank all of the sponsors as well. The SBA also wishes to thank all the behind the scenes folks such as umpires (who, no matter what the score, can’t win!), and local papers the Syosset-Jericho Tribune and Syosset Advance. Events for Syosset Baseball Association can be found on their website, www.syossetbaseball.org.