For the second straight summer, the New York City All-Star Sports Group hosted the Borough Cup baseball tournament featuring youth teams from all over the five boroughs.
And also for the second straight summer, the 9-year-old squad from St. Patrick’s parish, Bay Ridge, was among the team’s that competed in the tournament.
St. Patrick’s competes each spring as a member of the Catholic Youth Organization of Brooklyn and Queens, so the tournament was a chance for the team to face some of the best competition in New York City.
“It was a great experience for us,” said Romeo Petric, athletic director at St. Patrick’s. “We played a bunch of teams from Brooklyn and Queens as well as some teams from the other boroughs. It was nice exposure for our kids just to play against kids of the same age from other programs. It was really a lot of fun.”
The Borough Cup is a citywide baseball tournament set up to determine the city’s best youth teams. Following a round of pool play, teams that reach the playoffs have the chance to play on some of the area’s professional baseball fields, including MCU Park in Coney Island and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.
All five boroughs of the city are represented each year, which gave the St. Patrick’s team the opportunity to square off against teams it wouldn’t normally see throughout the course of the spring season.
“Everyone really wants to compete in the Borough Cup because it just means a little bit more when you’re competing not only amongst yourselves but different programs across all the boroughs,” said Michael Wood, head coach of the 9-year-old team. “I think it just raises the level of competition.”
“It’s not just the Brooklyn teams; it’s Staten Island, Manhattan, the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, so it’s even better,” said Nicolas Tooma, the team’s first baseman.
“It’s cool to play with other people from New York City because you can see how challenging they are and how good they are,” said third baseman Timothy Wood.
With the influx of local athletes taking up lacrosse as a sport, some would say that the sport of baseball is dying in the five boroughs, especially based on the limited amount of good weather in this area.
However, the Borough Cup has fulfilled its mission of promoting the revitalization of America’s pastime in The Big Apple.
The tournament hopes to grow youth baseball throughout the city by providing funding for nonprofit teams. A portion of the proceeds will also be put into a fund to provide grants to organizations and sandlot programs throughout the five boroughs.
The St. Patrick’s program is fortunate to have over 200 kids playing baseball each spring and a good number who continue to play in the summer. Though some other programs are still in the building stages, a tournament like the Borough Cup helps those teams ramp up the excitement to get more kids playing the game.
“I just want to see it keep getting better and better,” Wood said. “If there are more organizations out there that want to invest in this (Borough Cup), then we’re all for it.”
All wins and losses aside, the experience of playing in the Borough Cup will be one the St. Patrick’s team won’t soon forget. Age groups go up to 14, so expect this team to be right back in the mix next summer to battle for New York City supremacy.
Through it all though, St. Patrick’s has done its part to promote youth baseball in the greatest city in the world.
Contact Jim Mancari via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.