2014 ‘4 in 24’ Renovation Recap
Each year, our entire front office staff looks forward to the ‘4 in 24’ youth field renovations, because we understand how big of an impact it has on the local community, and on our local youth ballplayers in particular. We all have a passion for the game of baseball, which began when many of us were young ballplayers playing little league or softball, and now we have the ability to give back to today’s youth, and promote America’s national pastime.
In under 24 hours, Twin Town Little League and Spring Youth Baseball in Troy, Schenectady Little League, and Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League all received major facelifts to their playing surface. The ValleyCats front office split up into groups of four, and along with numerous volunteers from each league, removed old sod from the infield and replaced it with brand new Kentucky bluegrass, rebuilt the homeplate and pitcher’s mound, remeasured and squared up each baseline, and put in brand new bases.
None of these renovations would have been possible without the outstanding support of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, our partners in this great community initiative. The partnership was formed in 2012 with a program called the Community Grounds Crew. The program assists local youth leagues with maintenance and upkeep of their fields throughout the spring and summer, and our mission is to provide the youth of the Capital Region with a safe place to play, learn, grow, and most importantly, have fun.
Throughout this blog post, you will see the hard work that was put in by all, and the transformation that took place at each field.
We’ll start with Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League, and their field located on County Route 401 in Westerlo. The field was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011, and you can see that much of the dirt had washed away.
So at the crack of dawn, crews began their magic!
And this is the final product!
A bit closer to home, two renovations took place within two miles of each other just beyond the fences of Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
First, our neighbors at Twin Town Little League, just across the street from “The Joe.” Here are some before photos:
Crews at work:
The finished product:
And just down the road, Spring Youth Baseball. Spring has been part of the Troy community since 1955, and provides house and competitive travel baseball to children up to 12 years old.Before photos:
Work in progress:
After a few unforeseen circumstances, the field at Spring was the last to be completed at around 10pm. But it was well worth it knowing how great a shape the field will be in for the kids! Here are some photos of the finished product:
Last, but certainly not least, Schenectady Little League. The field that received the renovation, Maietta-Buonome Field, has been home to Schenectady Little League since 1950. There is a lot of history at this field, where the teams of the ’50’s began their run to the Little League World Series three times, winning it in 1954.
Three members of that 1954 championship team stopped by for a formal press conference recognizing the work being done at the field, and the 60th anniversary of the ’54 Little League World Series Champions.
Coincidentally, the photo was set up in the same way as 1954, with Loudis holding the trophy, Caputo on his right and Scirocco on his left.
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy also stopped by to celebrate the occasion. Just one day earlier, the Mayor had spoke at the championship parade for the Union College men’s hockey team, who captured this year’s national championship.
Also in attendance, ValleyCats Vice President/GM Rick Murphy, Chief of Staff for Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, Gerard Parisi, Nikki Peters and Sara Siddons from Schenectady Little League, SouthPaw, and a few youth ballplayers!
Here’s what the field looked like prior to the renovations:
A big thank you to Youth Build Schenectady for sending a bunch of hard working volunteers, and to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que & Ruby Tuesday for feeding everybody! Also thank you to Bob Pezzano, Director of the Schenectady School District Hall of Fame, for bringing over the World Series championship trophy and photo collages of the many memories from the 50’s.
All four renovations were also supported by Admar Construction, who provided much of the necessary equipment to complete the renovations, Turface Athletics for providing the clay bricks and dirt for the mound and home plate, The Brickman Group, and the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, whose contributions come from past events held at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.
All said and done, it was another very successful year for the ‘4 in 24!’ It is such a great feeling to keep laying the foundation for the youth leaders of tomorrow, and we can’t wait to see all of the smiling faces come Opening Day!