Little Leaguers ready for 24-hour ballgame

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The Hollis Bellaire Queens Village Bellerose Little League is giving added meaning to the term “extra innings.”

Kids from the 600-member Little League are scheduled to participate Saturday in a 24-hour baseball game in Brooklyn organized by the Knights of Columbus to benefit charity.

Michael Otero, the T-ball division head at HBQVB and an organizer of the event, said the Little League decided to become involved after a Knights of Columbus member suggested the idea last fall.

“We discussed it as a board and took a vote and agreed to participate,” he said.

The event, to be held at MCU Park, where the Class-A Brooklyn Cyclones play, starts at 12 p.m. Saturday and runs until 12 p.m. Sunday. Admission to the stadium, home of the New York Mets’ minor league affiliate, is free.

Otero said teams from within each of the Little League’s divisions will play each other for one hour and then two other teams of the same skill level will take their place.

The score will be running throughout the event, so two teams beginning a game will start with the score of the previous squads.

Otero said the games will be played in age order, meaning T-ballers will kick off the event with seniors, or those aged 17 and 18, playing in the wee hours.

“The older kids can stay up a little later, so they’re scheduled to play at night,” Otero said.

The event, dubbed Extra Innings with HBQVB, also acts as a fund-raiser for numerous charities, including St. Mary’s Hospital for Children in Bayside and Fisher House.

Little Leaguers participating in the game were encouraged to find people to contribute to the causes.

For children who raise $250, they and a guest will attend a lunch with former Mets great and current Cyclones manager Wally Backman. The top 20 fund-raisers get to sit at a table with Backman during the lunch and the most successful fund-raiser gets to throw out the first pitch at a Cyclones game.

When a baseball game is tied after nine innings, the game goes into extra innings. But what happens when a 24-hour game is tied at the end?

“It’ll end however it ends,” Otero said. “The score’s not as important as the event of raising money.”

Otero said the 24-hour game is the first one of its kind in the city, although he said there have even been 36- and 48-hour games played elsewhere in the country.

For the game, the Little League will have full use of the MCU Park’s lighting and public address system so the children will hear their names when they come up to bat.

“From the league’s perspective, it’s an opportunity for our kids to feel like Major Leaguers,” Otero said. “Hopefully, for our kids at least, it will be an event they’ll never forget.”

Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at or by phone at 718-260-4573.

Updated 5:55 pm, October 10, 2011
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