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Sports August 25, 2016  RSS feed

Borough cup brings big leagues-style baseball to local youth

The Reds celebrate their 3-2 win in the Borough Cup at Yankee Stadium. 
Photo courtesy of the Queens Reds The Reds celebrate their 3-2 win in the Borough Cup at Yankee Stadium. Photo courtesy of the Queens Reds John Scooter had a message for his Astoria Storm players before they took the field at MCU Park on August 15 to play in the championship game of the Under 8 division of the Borough Cup.

“I just told them that most kids will never get to play on field like this,” Scooter said. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience. It’s the thrill of a lifetime. Enjoy it.”

The Storm did, edging the Baserats, 8-6, for the title in their age group. It was the first of five title games to be played at the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones that day.

On August 9, two other division champs were crowned at Yankee Stadium.

There are a lot of summer baseball tournaments throughout the country but none can say they play their championship games in venues such as Yankee Stadium and MCU Park.

“This is just an awesome experience for the kids,’’ Armando Pena, manager of the Raiders said. “To play in a professional ballpark, and not just any park but Yankee Stadium, it’s something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.”

As Pena was speaking, Carlos Lugo was hoisting the championship trophy in the Under 14 division. The Raiders edged the Bonnie Paws, 6-5, in the bottom of the sixth inning in the second of two thrilling games in the Bronx.

The Queens Reds edged the NYCYCO Rays, 3-2, in the opener. It was the fourth meeting between the two powers and the Rays had won the first three said Reds manager Lee Pasquale.

“I told the kids it’s hard for one team to beat another two, three times and that we were due,” Pasquale said. “We wanted to win the championship but just seeing how excited the kids were when they stepped on the field at Yankee Stadium was a dream come true.”

For three years, the Borough Cup has been making dreams come true for New York’s youth baseball players. No longer do teams have to travel south or west each summer to play in a first-class baseball tournament.

"For three years, the staff of the Borough Cup has worked hard to make sure that the Borough Cup is exactly what it was set out to be -- the biggest youth baseball initiative in New York City,” said Gary Perone, one of the founders of the Cup and the assistant general manager of the Cyclones. “It brings all of the neighborhoods together and gives all of the organizations in New York City something to call their own. On behalf of The NYC All Star Sports Group, I am very grateful to everyone who has seen the vision, MLB, the Players Association, the New York Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones, New York Yankees and all of our partners!"

In other championships games at MCU Park, the CP Stars defeated the Whitestone Renegades, 7-5 in the Under 9 division. The Raiders were two-time champs when their Under 10 team edged the BBYO Phantoms, 4-3. The Bronx Bombers and Midville Dodgers won convincingly in the Under 11 and Under 12 divisions.

The Borough Cup took a giant step forward this year. It received a generous donation from the Major League Baseball Players Association along with the backing of many local politicians.

“Brooklyn has a long and glorious history of baseball, from the days of Jackie Robinson playing at Ebbets Field to the beloved Brooklyn Dodgers, to the days of the Cyclones playing on the Boardwalk in Coney Island,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams. “We are grateful to the Players Association for helping our children enjoy America's pastime along with its generous support of the Borough Cup.”