Rolling the ball in his hand tucked behind his back, finding the stitched seams with his fingertips, Sammy Granata leaned forward at the waist and stared toward home plate.
After drawing in a deep breath, he straightened up, reached back, and ripped a pitch past the batter, Nick Allen, and into the waiting glove of catcher Owen Staller.
“Strike!” called the umpire behind home plate.
Sammy and Nick smiled as the latter dug in again, readying for the next offering.
“Count’s two and two!”
As regular season teammates and friends turned foes, the competition was intense-but-fun-filled at Young’s Field June 2 for the New Milford Youth Baseball & Softball Minors AAA division All-Star game, which brought eight innings of hardball action to a field typically occupied by adult softball players.
NMYBBSB marks its 50th anniversary this year.
To recognize and celebrate the youth’s hard work and contributions to their teams, 26 players, 13 on each of the two groupings, were selected by their coaches and peers to play in the annual All-Star game at the James “Bear” Showater field.
The two teams were designated as a green squad and a black squad.
After the last out, the final score was 7 to 1 with the green team taking the win.
Baseball wasn’t alone at Young’s Field.
On the neighboring Jay Solomon field, 8-, 9- and 10-year-old girls had their own 10U All-Star game, which was followed by a 12U All-Star softball game.
“I am continually impressed with how hard these girls work, and that effort really shows on the field—especially in games like these,” said Rob Williams, coach and NMYBBSB treasurer.
The 12U softball All-Star game featured special guest coaches from Schaghticoke Middle School, physical education teachers Tricia Blood and Eileen Holden.
While many of these athletes will continue to play travel baseball and softball throughout the summer months, the next opportunity for a new season of in-house play is this fall.
Youth, aged 4 and older, are welcome to try baseball or softball with NMYBBSB.
For information about baseball in New Milford, contact NMYBBSB vice president Bill Granata at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information about softball in New Milford, contact NMYBBSB softball commissioner Michelle McNamara at email@example.com.