The Tri-City ValleyCats, along with title sponsors Friendly's, Price Chopper, CDTA and The Brickman Group, have announced that Westland Hills Little League in Albany, Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball League in Ballston Spa, Northside Little League in Schenectady and Scotia-Glenville Little League in Scotia are the four fields that will be renovated during a twenty four hour time period in April. The ValleyCats received almost forty applications from leagues around the Capital Region.
The renovations will take place beginning the morning of Friday, April 15th and will be completed by Saturday morning April 16th. To begin the process, the ValleyCats will separate their crew into two groups. One will begin in Ballston Spa and one will begin at Westland Hills in Albany. After those fields are completed, all will diverge upon Schenectady and begin work at the Northside and Scotia-Glenville Little League fields.
Each field will have it's plate and pitcher's mound areas rebuilt to regulation standards, the baseline's squared, playing surface leveled, and new sod placed on the entire infield which will then be raked and graded. The ValleyCats will coordinate along the way with each league's volunteers to make any other necessary improvements and place the finishing touches on their field.
"In honor of our 10th anniversary season, we are excited to partner with Friendly's, Price Chopper, CDTA and the Brickman Group on this ambitious community initiative," said ValleyCats Vice President and General Manager Rick Murphy.
"We received a great response from youth leagues all around the Capital Region and would like to thank them all for participating. After a challenging selection process, we have chosen four fields that we feel best fit the objective and scope of this project. Expanding our annual field renovation program is just the next step in our mission to provide safe and well-maintained fields for youth sports organizations throughout the community. As an ambassador for the great game of baseball, we will hold true to that mission for years to come," Murphy said.
Each league that submitted an application to the ValleyCats will receive a field maintenance tip sheet to help them maintain their field. They will also receive an instructional video from the 'Cats groundskeepers on how to rebuild their fields plate and pitcher's mound areas.
The ValleyCats have undertaken numerous field renovation projects since they began the program in 2003. After the completion of these four fields, the ValleyCats will have then officially renovated a total of ten. For these past nine years, The Brickman Group has been a proud supporter of the renovation program.
"This will be the tenth season that Brickman has partnered with the ValleyCats and we are very excited to be apart of this years '4 in 24' . This breakthrough project will allow us to continue to give back to the community and make sure our youth has the best resources for success," said Brickman's Albany Branch Manager Ryan Panarese.
The same sentiments are echoed by all the other proud partners that have joined the 'Cats in this expanded initiative.
"As a longtime supporter both of youth sports and the Tri-City ValleyCats, Price Chopper is thrilled to help fund the frenzied effort to renovate four Capital Region sports fields in 24 hours," said Mona Golub, VP of Public Relations and Consumer & Marketing Services for the regionally-based supermarket chain.
"We are excited to join the ValleyCats and our partners in supporting the children and families that live in the neighborhoods and communities we serve each and every day," said CDTA Chairwoman Denise Figueroa. "Congratulations to each little league organization that will be part of the rehabilitation program. Our staff is looking forward to rolling up its sleeves and giving back to the communities that need our services."
"Friendly's is honored to participate in a project that will benefit thousands of children throughout the Capital Region," said David Bailey, Albany Marketing Manager, Friendly's Restaurants. "Baseball is a game that promotes friendship, instills discipline and builds character. We cherish the opportunity to have such a powerful and profound effect on so many young lives."
New York State Assemblyman James Tedisco knows how crucial it is to provide the youth in the Capital Region with a safe haven that allows them to grow into mature adults.
"As a former athlete and little leaguer, I know how important youth sports are to building character, teamwork and above all keeping kids safe. The Tri-City ValleyCats' '4 in 24' extreme makeover project is a home run for little leagues in need of assistance. I'm proud of all the little leaguers, the parents, the coaches and all the volunteers who are a part of the game. I tip my cap to the ValleyCats and all the volunteers who will be creating new fields of dreams for these four little league teams. Now, let's play ball!" said Tedisco.
Westland Hills Little League in Albany has been in operation for over seventy-five years and serves many inner city boys and girls in and around the Albany community.
"Westland Hills is excited and fortunate to be offered the opportunity to have one of our ball fields renovated through the '4 in 24' program. The opportunity given to us by the ValleyCats will make a great impact on our league financially. The field renovations will also provide the children of Westland Hills a safe playing environment and will greatly enhance their playing experience," said league president Michael Patnaude.
Northside Little League in Schenectady was established in the 1950's and looks forward to having their field receive a face lift.
"This means the world to our league," said Northside Little League President Tony Derenzo. "As a low revenue league, it would have taken us three to four years to make these much needed improvements. This will not only give our major players a quality field to play on but allows us the opportunity to improve our farm and softball fields. Selecting us for this renovation will have a positive effect on every single player in our league," he said.
One of the chosen fields bears the name of the founder of baseball, Abner Doubleday, who was born in Ballston Spa, NY. They would like to see their field well represent such a historic baseball figure.
"Being chosen as one of the facilities to be part of the '4 in 24' program could not have come at a better time. With limited resources and funding, yet a rapidly growing league that hosts a lot of baseball, our fields are in need of various repairs. We look forward to partnering with the ValleyCats and enthusiastically thank them for the opportunity to begin our 2011 season on such an exciting note," said Alicia TenEyck, Volunteer Coordinator for Ballston Spa Jr. Baseball.
Scotia Little League plays their home games at Collins Park and has over three hundreed children and close to twenty five board members who volunteer their time to keep the league functioning.
"Out of all the leagues that entered the contest, we are honored to have been chosen," said Scotia Little League President Todd Carusone. "Our field is in need of much work and with the help of the ValleyCats, the repairs and updates will finally happen. All members of our organization are very excited for this to occur and it will make for a great start to the new season."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.