‘Cats preparing for renovations to four youth fields on Friday
Prep work is underway for the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York’s ‘4 in 24’ Field Renovation Project, which will take place this Friday. The work had originally been scheduled for Thursday, but bad weather conditions forced the renovations to be postponed until Friday.
Each field will have its old infield sod removed and replaced with brand new Kentucky bluegrass, the homeplate and pitcher’s mound will be completely redone, all of the baselines will be measured and edged to the accurate specifications, and new bases will be put in, along with other general cleanup around the ballpark.
The four leagues which will receive the renovations are Twin Town Little League and Spring Youth Baseball in Troy, Schenectady Little League, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League in Westerlo. Four groups of ValleyCats staff, BlueShield of Northeastern New York staff, league and city volunteers, and members of The Brickman Group will begin work at each location at 7am. The bulk of the heavy duty renovations should be completed by early afternoon, with the finishing touches being put on in the evening.
This year marks the 75th Anniversary of Little League Baseball, the New York-Penn League, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame…so a big year for baseball in general! It also marks the 60th anniversary of the Schenectady Little League World Series championship team of 1954, which brings us to our first ‘4 in 24’ location.
SCHENECTADY LITTLE LEAGUE
The original Schenectady Little League was formed in 1950, and Michigan Avenue is where the team called home. Fast forward over 60 years later, and this Friday, that very same field will receive much need renovations. Schenectady Little League has a long and storied history of success, participating in three Little League World Series in the 50’s, capturing the title in 1954. Members of that team include former major leaguers, Billy Connors and Jim Barbieri. Connors went on to become pitching coach for the New York Yankees, and served as Vice President of Player Personnel from 1996-2012.
Another member of that 1954 championship team, Joe Loudis, will join the ValleyCats for a formal press conference that will take place at Schenectady Little League’s Maietta-Buonome Field on Michigan Avenue this Friday at 11am. Loudis was also a standout basketball player, playing for Marshall University and the University of Albany under Doc Sauers. He went on to become a highly successful high school baseball and basketball coach, and is a member of the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame.
In our recent visit to the Maietta-Buonome Field, we discovered a few nostalgic items. These items and other memorabilia will be displayed throughout the day on Friday.
Presently, Schenectady Little League has 300+ members after merging with JC and Bellevue Little League in 2008, and Northside Little League this season. Opening Day is set for Saturday, May 3.
Below are photos of the current conditions at Maietta-Buonome Field.
TWIN TOWN LITTLE LEAGUE
Located directly across the street from “The Joe” on Williams Road, the Twin Town #2 field is where the league hosts all of their championship games and most all-star tournaments.
Twin Town Little League is home to 50-55 teams / 550+ players, and with the league being our neighbors, this a very exciting piece to the ‘4 in 24’ renovations! Opening Day is set for Saturday, April 26.
More current photos:
SPRING YOUTH BASEBALL
Located just over two miles away from “The Joe” on Spring Avenue in Troy, Spring Youth Baseball has been part of the Troy community since 1955, making it one of the oldest continuously running baseball programs within Rensselaer County.
The field plays host to the Spring Renegades travel program, whose 8 & under team won back to back Eastern NY State Championships in 2012 & 2013. They are asked to host many tournaments, including State and Mid-Atlantic Championships, and these renovations will help put the field in as best shape as possible.
Spring currently fields 30+ teams and has over 350 players. Opening Day is set for Saturday, April 26.
BERNE-KNOX-WESTERLO LITTLE LEAGUE
Rounding out the “fields” of four is Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League. A smaller league comprised of about 13 teams and 135 players, BKW Little League uses three different locations for their games, including the Westerlo field on County Route 401. This is where the ‘Cats will focus their attention, as it was severely damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011. Because the field sits right next to a stream, it had been under 2-3 feet of water, washing away most of the infield dirt.
When it’s all said and done, the before & after photos of this location will be remarkable! The field will be in tip-top shape for Opening Day on Sunday, April 27!
Here are some more current photos:
All of the above renovations would not be possible without our fantastic partnership with BlueShield of Northeastern New York, who play a big role in the support of these efforts! Together, we are able to provide the youth of the Capital Region with a safe place to play, learn, grow, and most importantly, have fun.
Renovation efforts are also be aided by the support of Admar Construction, who will provide the necessary equipment to complete the renovations, The Brickman Group, and the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, whose contributions come from past events held at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
We’ll be posting renovation updates on our Facebook & Twitter pages throughout the day on Friday using #4in24, so be sure to check in and see our progress!