Beginning at 6 AM on Friday, April 13, the Cambridge Valley Athletic Association, South Colonie Youth Baseball, Coxsackie Little League and Waterford Little League all received much needed improvements to their playing fields.
Each ball field had new sod placed in their infield while also seeing their pitcher's mound and homeplate areas re-built, all in less than 24-hours.
"As an organization that is committed to being an ambassador for the game of baseball, our staff is excited to continue our '4 in 24' Field Renovation Project and kick off our Community Grounds Crew Program. It is very gratifying to know that the youth of these communities will have the opportunity to play on these renovated ball fields, thus giving them the best chance to learn and succeed," said ValleyCats Vice President/General Manager Rick Murphy.
The '4 in 24' Field Renovations was the kick-off to a season long campaign known as the Community Grounds Crew Program. With the help of BlueShield of Northeastern New York, the Community Grounds Crew will assist numerous other youth leagues in the Capital Region with field maintenance projects from June through September.
"We are thrilled to partner with the ValleyCats to restore four local baseball diamonds, so the children of our community can enjoy one of our country's national past times," Brian O'Grady, vice president, BlueShield of Northeastern New York, said. "Our company takes pride in the thought of kids playing catch or running the bases with friends, because they will be taking time out of their day to engage in healthy activities - and as we all know - Healthy Changes Everything."
The four fields chosen as part of the '4 in 24' were also aided by the support of Pioneer Bank.
"Pioneer Bank is committed to encouraging healthy activity and living for our local children. The ValleyCats' 4 in 24 Field Renovation Program is an excellent way to ensure that children have a safe place to play and exercise. Pioneer Bank is very proud to sponsor this worthwhile program," said Eileen Bagnoli, President & CEO of Pioneer Bank.
Among those fields renovated was South Colonie Youth Baseball, formerly known as West Albany. Co-Presidents Brian Manion and Mike Cole issued this joint statement on the renovations.
"This renovation will allow these kids to play on a state-of-the-art field, just like the ValleyCats players they enjoy going to see play ball at Joe Bruno Stadium. This will give them the feeling of attachment to the ValleyCats players and the organization. We are truly thankful to the Tri-City ValleyCats and their partners for choosing South Colonie Youth Baseball as a recipient."
In Cambridge, NY, the Cambridge Valley Athletic Association has three fields that see use from their baseball, softball and Pony League teams. The 'Cats renovated their little league field, which received an entire infield dirt playing surface.
"Cambridge Little League is honored to have been chosen for this opportunity. The field renovation will provide players at all levels a quality playing environment while reducing the congestion on one field previously shared by more than 7 teams; this opportunity will greatly enhance their playing experience. We greatly appreciate the involvement of the ValleyCats in bettering our fields which will directly better our organization and most importantly benefit the children of Cambridge," said Alicia Williams, President of Cambridge Little League.
One of the towns impacted by serious flooding last spring was Waterford. Their Little League field was partly underwater causing their opening day to be delayed by a week. The improvements as part of the '4 in 24' will greatly benefit their tight-knit community.
"The generosity of the Tri-City ValleyCats will directly benefit the youth of our small town and our community by providing a first-class playing field," said Michael Talavera, President of Waterford Little League.
Rounding out the fields in the '4 in 24' was Coxsackie Little League. Like the previous three, Coxsackie saw vast improvements and will leave many young children eager to begin the new baseball season.
"We are thrilled to be selected and are grateful to the ValleyCats and all the sponsors of the '4 in 24' program. This extreme field makeover will greatly improve the baseball experience for our youth. The ValleyCats continue to be a community asset by providing this and other valuable programs to the families of the Capital Region," said Coxsackie League President Rob Scott.
Field Renovations have been an annual tradition for the Tri-City ValleyCats since the program began with the restoration of a little league field in South Troy in 2003. Each year since, the ValleyCats organization has reinforced their mission to provide safe and well-maintained fields for youth sports organizations throughout the Capital Region. This task was expanded with the first-ever '4 in 24' program in April of 2011. That project saw fields in Albany, Ballston Spa, Schenectady, and Scotia restored with crews working around the clock.
Leagues not chosen for the '4 in 24' will be eligible to receive field maintenance through the ValleyCats and BlueShield of Northeastern New York's Community Grounds Crew Program. Other leagues that wish to be considered can fill out an application that is located on the ValleyCats website at www.tcvalleycats.com. The ValleyCats will accept and evaluate applications on an on-going basis through September of 2012.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.