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Pitcher perfect: More than 100 kids from public housing enjoy a day of baseball

Ciara Ross and Madisen Hartwell practice their throw during RDC’s Heart of the City Baseball initiative at Sternberg Park on April 13.
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These kids knocked it out of the park!

Children from several boroughs went to bat and learned from the best at a baseball tournament and training event at Sternberg Park on April 13.

More than 100 youngsters and their families from 16 public housing projects near the Lorimer Street green space and from as far as the Bronx and Queens came out on the warm spring day to play ball with coaches from local teams and hear inspiring speeches from former pros, such as former Mets outfielder Dave Gallagher and former San Francisco Giants player Jeffrey Hammonds, who told the pint-sized players to never give up, according to one of the organizers.

“They were talking about how baseball, for lack of a better word, kept them out of trouble and urged the kids to work hard and be persistent,” said Susan Camerata, principal of the development company RDC Development — the organization that hosted the all-day event at Montrose Avenue.

The day kicked off with a tournament of local teams from the Williamsburg Athletics League, followed by a training clinic where coaches from those teams taught the kids to play baseball, some of whom had never played the game before, according to Camerata.

The two veterans of America’s favorite pastime, along with Councilman Antonio Reynoso (D-Williamsburg) and a leader of the Major League Baseball Players Trust Xavier James, spoke about the importance of exercising and being healthy, which go hand in hand, according to the organizer.

“If you’re doing something athletic you pay attention to what you’re eating and paying more attention all round,” Camerata said.

The kids also got to take home some free gear so they can keep practicing, such as baseball gloves, T-shirts, water bottles, and backpacks.

The program was great for the kids and the organizers got many thanks from the families about a great day out for all, according to Camerata.

“It was overwhelming and inspiring to see how much they enjoyed it,” she said. “It was a great family day out.”

Reach reporter Kevin Duggan at (718) 260–2511 or by e-mail at kduggan@schnepsmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @kduggan16.
Updated 3:29 pm, April 17, 2019
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