The Pearl River High School baseball team spent most of spring break in Florida.
Over the course of their week-long trip, in between games, the players had a good deal of downtime, during which the conversation kept coming back to Little League.
“The guys were talking about who hit more homeruns, who struck out who, which teams had the best records, all of that stuff,” said Chris Woolgar, an assistant coach for the high school team and a coach with Pearl River Little League.
Woolgar thought it’d be a positive gesture for the team if they went to the opening day ceremony.
“They wanted to do it, they were excited,” Woolgar said. “I thought it’d be nice for some of the younger players to see that all the guys on the varsity team played Little League right here.”
A few things have changed since the players on the team were in Little League, but the most might be their perception.
“It all seems a lot smaller now,” said Brenden Ryan, a senior pitcher for the Pirates.
The team, which is made up of all former Pearl River Little League players, all wore their hats from whichever team they were on when they played in the league’s majors division.
“All morning at practice they were talking about coming back to the field,” Woolgar said. “They were mostly excited to get the cheese fries from the snack bar.”
Ryan and fellow senior captain Jake Tedesco threw out ceremonial first pitches, as did Congresswoman Nita Lowey.
During the ceremony, there was also a moment of silence for Patty Harris, who died earlier this year of cancer. Her husband, Tim Harris, has done a lot of work with the league over the years, and the kindergarten field is named Harris Field, after him and his brother, late Pearl River Fire Chief Bill Harris.
“Patty was a very patriotic person and loved all things red, white and blue,” said Joan Bourke, director of Pearl River Little League. “To show our thanks to Tim Harris and the entire Harris family, we’ve purchased a new flag, which we’ll proudly fly in Patty’s memory.”
The majors baseball and softball teams that won their league last year were also honored during the ceremony, as was the 2011 AAA champion. All-Star teams that won their section or division also presented their banners to the league to hang up this year. The Chance Cosgrove Sportsmanship Award was also presented to Ciaran McEnroe. The award is named after the late 12-year-old who drowned while on a family vacation in 2009, and is given to a member of the Pearl River Little League representative in the annual Tournament of Champions that best displays Cosgrove’s love of the game.
The award was presented by members of the Cosgrove family and Woolgar, who not only coached McEnroe last year, but also coached Chance Cosgrove as well.
Pearl River's opening day was initially scheduled for March 31, but was postponed due to rain.