LEWISBORO, N.Y. Summer doesnt officially begin for two months, but it got off to an early start Saturday afternoon when the Lewisboro Baseball Association held its Open Day ceremonies at Town Park under warm, sunny skies.
The smell of grilling burgers and hot dogs filled the air as the Lions and Leo clubs provided the annual barbecue feast prior to the festivities. More than 300 ballplayers, ages 6 to 14, making up 28 teams excitedly waited for the first pitch to start the season as parents, coaches and area dignitaries watched.
Association President Greg La Sorsa, in his sixth year leading the league, said the association has been a community fixture for more than 50 years. It has been affiliated with Little League for the past 27 years.
Today is very special for us, La Sorsa said. We will be honoring Gene Lanza, a former LBA vice president, with the Spirit of the LBA Award. He did everything for this organization. He was selfless. If anyone embodies the spirit of the LBA, its him.
The Baseball Association also paid tribute to former longtime Town Clerk Kathy Cory for her work with the Lions Club.
Another highlight of the event was a donation of two defibrillators to the association by the Forever Molly & Gregory Fund. The charity was created in honor of Lewisboro Elementary siblings Molly and Gregory Friedlander, who along with their mother, Amy, died tragically last fall.
It takes that tragedy and turns it into something beautiful that will last for years to come, La Sorsa said.
Deputy Supervisor Peter DeLucia, who also coaches one of the teams, said baseball Opening Day is one of Lewisboros keystone community happenings every year.
Its one of the most exciting events, he said. Its great to see the kids grow up in the league. Its all about community.
Seven-year-old Chris Ferrante, who plays for the As, agreed.
Its one of the most exciting days of the year, he said. I can walk around, be with my friends. Im a Yankee fan, and my favorite position is first base, and I love baseball.
After some speeches by local dignitaries, including state Assembly member Robert Castelli and county Legislator Peter Harckham, the parade of teams got under way. It was followed by a fundraiser raffle and the presentation of the check for the defibrillators by representatives of the Forever Gregory & Molly Fund.
La Sorsa told the crowd, tongue firmly planted in check, that pop star Katy Perry had been scheduled to sing the national anthem but had to cancel at the last minute. However, he said, the association had managed to find a surprise replacement.
That replacement turned out to be La Sorsa himself. After his rousing rendition of The Star Spangled Banner, it was time to play ball.
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