New City Little League is turning to bowling to help improve conditions for baseball and softball at Strawtown Field.
On Saturday, New City Little League hosts a fundraiser at New City Bowl on Main Street in New City to raise money needed to replace old fields lights at the Strawtown road complex where teams play baseball and softball.
“The lights have been there for an extended period of time, and they’re a bit antiquated,” said Lon Hofstein, president of New City Little League. “ Over time, more efficient lighting has been manufactured, and we would like to bring the field up-to-date so that it will be much more cost-efficient and energy-efficient and it will provide the children with better lighting for the field.”
Hoftsein noted that the current light fixtures on the field are at least 13 years old, and he estimates that the new lights will cost $100,000. He realizes that the lights have worked well for years, but now that the technology has improved it is time for them to be upgraded.
“Unfortunately they’re old, and they’ve been out in the elements for all these years,” Hofstein said. “So they’ve stretched themselves and really served their purpose, but it’s time to move on.”
Saturday's fundraiser is one way the league is looking to help pay the cost of new lights. The cost for the bowling event is $25 per person and includes two games, shoes, soda, and a pretzel. The event will also include raffles for various prizes, possibly including private lessons with one of the League coaches.
A Big Project
Mike Salmon, vice president for the Majors Softball Division of New City Little League, also agrees that the lights on the field need to be updated.
“We’re at the point of playing with a light that has a kind of orangey-type glow to it,” Salmon said. “They’re not the whitest lights that we really need to have realy good sightlines for kids to play within. The kids at this point deserve the upgrade.”
The upgrading of the lights is a new project for New City Little League, and this will be the first fundraiser toward that effort. In past, the league has worked to improve other aspects of the field by adding batting cages and a permanent bathroom, the latter of which came with the help of the New City Rotary Club. But Hofstein noted that this new project is larger than some of the previous ones.
“We’re constantly spending money on the league to improve the program for all the children, but [the lighting] is what would be considered a major project, major capital improvement, and that’s not something that we would be doing every year,” he said.
With such a big project, Salmon noted that New City Little League will need help from other sources, whether that be large companies or local donations, to get the new lighting system in place.
“This is really about the kids, and the kids getting a good experience at Little League baseball and softball,” Salmon said. “We really want them to be able to get the experience that they’re supposed to get, and we feel that the lighting at this point is pretty antiquated … We’re not going to get it done without other people stepping up, corporations and whatever we get around here to pitch in to help us out.”
One of the other managers in the league is Clarkstown Town Board member Frank Borelli, R-New City, who currently serves as manager for one of the Majors Softball teams, the Mets. He noted lighting systems have become an important part of New City Little League because to meet the demands for time on the field.
“It’s important to have the lights, what it does is it gives us better utilization of the field,” Borelli said. “It’s important that we really utilize the field to the max.”
Michael Cohen, vice president for the Single-A Division, came up with the idea for the bowling fundraiser as a way for the kids in the league to come together away from the field while also raising money for the league. Hofstein agreed with this sentiment.
“The theory behind it all is give the children an opportunity to bond and to play together as a team not only in baseball but in another sport while at the same time helping the league try to provide more for all the children of the League,” Hofstein said.
The event is mainly open to participants in the Single-A Division of New City Little League, which is made up of eight baseball teams. Hofstein said this is because the bowling alley can only accommodate a limited number of kids at a time. However, he also said that if the fundraiser goes well the league may have other similar ones in the future for other divisions in the league.
“I’m hopeful that the baseball/softball community will respond and help support this effort,” Borelli said. “You can’t do any of these things without everybody’s help.”
Those who are interested should pre-register for the event by sending an email to email@example.com.