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Play Ball! Little League starts

Hundreds of baseball fans both young and old marched in the Bayside Little League’s annual Opening Day parade Saturday morning, an affair that rings in the start of spring.

Young boys and girls dressed in their color-coded uniforms skipped, ran and walked from 43rd Avenue to Crocheron Park, proud to show off their new duds and anxiously awaiting the crack of their first hit this season.

Led by elected officials and the tunes of the Francis Lewis High School’s Patriots marching band, the parade was a proud day for parents, including Matt Kenny, a Bayside resident whose 5-year-old son Devlin is trying his hand at the national pastime for the first time this year as a player on the Salon Deana team.

“He’s thrilled. He’s got on the uniform, it’s a big kick for him,” Kenny said. “It brings back memories of me playing Little League, and it’s fun showing him how to play ball.”

State Sen. Tony Avella (D-Bayside), state Assemblyman Ed Braunstein (D-Bayside) and Community Board 11 Chairman Jerry Iannece were at the head of the procession.

Ana Ramirez of Flushing brought her sons, 8-year-old Ricardo and 10-year-old Alfredo, to participate in the festivities.

“I like all the noise and the excitement and I like batting,” Alfredo said, before joining up with his team in the procession. “It’s fun. I play third base.”

Bayside Little League was founded by three fathers in 1950 and now has 900 children registered in its ranks. It started with three teams and has since expanded to more than 60 teams of 5-year-olds to 18-year-olds, though the players who participated in the parade were all in the 5- to 12-year-old age range.

John Como, manager of the Powerhouse Gym team, marched in the parade in full uniform. He said the parade is aimed at providing youngsters with a good time and at showcasing the league’s community benefits.

“It’s to really show the community that the Bayside Little League is really involved, and they want the kids to see that it’s a community, you’re not just an isolated team,” he said.

Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at csheets@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4538.

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