Many avid baseball fans argue that opening day should be considered a national holiday. It felt like one on the morning of April 5 for Saint Patricks Catholic Academys Baseball league as they celebrated their first day of playing ball in 2014.The morning began at St. Patricks Church with a blessing. The children, as well as parents and coaches, then marched from the church to the baseball fields in Shore Road Park for a ceremony, drills and games.The NYPD helped clear the streets the participants used as their route to the ballfields.The kids proudly wore their green baseball uniforms and held up a sign that read Saint Patricks Baseball.After a winter of being in the gym playing basketball, I think everyones had enough of being indoors, said Romeo Petric, athletic director of all Saint Pats sports programs. We want some fresh air. Get outside and get under the sun. The weather cooperated, which is great.Despite most baseball programs numbers being down in terms of children signing up, Petric is happy with the current state of the schools program. We have over 200 kids in the program so we must be doing something right, he said. Again, its good to get the kids to play something different.The league is open to children of all ages and talent ranges, and focuses on teaching the fundamentals of the game. The program includes kids from Pre k to eighth grade. There are 15 teams in program. Like I said, it starts from basics and catching, knowing where first base is. Knowing what home plate is as opposed to the doghouse, Petric joked.State Senator Marty Golden and Congressmember Michael Grimm were also in attendance to speak to the sluggers in training to welcome them back on the diamond. Its good to see so many kids out here and Saint Patricks is one of the strongest parishes around, said Golden. Thats why we make sure we focus on you and the community. And you got the greatest guys that do the good volunteer work every year. Grimm also thanked the adults that make the league thrive. It doesnt happen by itself. Its extremely important that we invest in kids futures. They are the future of this country. Organized sports like baseball are going to give them the foundation they need to succeed in life, whether its learning teamwork, pushing themselves real hard or learning how to pick themselves up if they lose a game. Those things they learn are important in life and that doesnt happen without the coaches, volunteers and parents.Afterwards, various clinics took place in the field, such as batting practice, fielding drills, pitching tips given by coaches and finally, an actual game was played later in the morning.The kids have a grand old time, said Petric.
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