Weston’s two nine-year-old travel teams, the super 9s blue and the super 9s gold, faced off against each other at Macombs Dam Park’s Heritage Field in the Bronx last Monday, July 23. This is the site of the original Yankee Stadium, directly next door to and in the shadows of the new stadium.
Super 9s blue coach Seve Esposito tried for nearly a year to get permission granted to stage this game, as the field is reserved for New York teams only and is booked for years ahead. His Bronx roots may have helped convince the NYC Parks and Recreations Committee to make the exception.
“I told them that the Bronx has always been my home and I wanted to share it and a special experience with the kids I’ve been fortunate enough to coach in Weston, a team which includes my own son,” he said. “I think the line that pushed them over the edge was when I suggested that I wanted these kids to know that the Bronx wasn’t all about the bad press they may have heard about.”
Esposito’s original wish was to have his team play against a team from his old Bronx Pelham Bay Little League, but when the interest in Weston nine-year-old travel ball increased this year and two teams were formed he chose to include the second team in the experience.
Threatening skies loomed early, but Mother Nature did not interrupt this event.
From Dante Esposito’s first pitch to Myles Lehrman’s last pitch, the two team played nine innings filled with lots of smiles. Two teams made up of friends and classmates who grinned at each other from across the diamond all day, then migrated together at the end for pictures and to explore the markings designating the historic locations on the field.
The back drop of Yankee Stadium and the sound of the adjacent subway train was certainly nothing these players had ever experienced before. Although some may remember Andrew Amato’s big hit, or the fielding of Daniel McKiernan and Nicholas Sacchetta, overall what everyone seemed to remember afterward is that these boys have now played on the same sacred baseball ground that Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle and Derek Jeter patrolled in the past.
“As a Yankee fan, a Bronx guy, a Weston guy, a dad and a guy who loves this group of nine-year-old players, I personally couldn’t have asked for a better day,” said Esposito.
The super 9s blue team won again, beating Ridgefield National 10-2 at Scalzo Field three days later.
The pitching duo of Dante Esposito and Johnny Cassol held Ridgefield in check, as Andrew Castro, E.J. Klatt and Esposito each with multi-hit games. Joshua Handel made some defensive plays to round out a complete performance in a storm-shortened game.