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Play Ball! Little League Season Opens In Elmsford

ELMSFORD, N.Y. – The sun was shining, the grass was green and the white chalk was laid out neatly around the base paths at Piccoli Field.

It only could mean one thing in Elmsford: after eight months, baseball was finally here.

Eager to ring in the new season, the pint-sized sluggers marched down Saw Mill River Road, led by Parade Grand Marshall and former Major League Baseball player and manager Tommy Lasorda.

“It’s a great day and it means everything to them,” said Elmsford Little League Treasurer Steve Cowles. “It’s the start of baseball and they get to meet a Hall of Famer like Tommy Lasorda.”

Parents and players agreed, clamoring with excitement about the season ahead.

“Opening day in the major leagues and little league means the same thing; forget about what happened last season, good or bad,” said little league dad Steve Boyle.  “Look forward to the spring and playing ball.”

His son, Lachlan, who hit a walk-off single in his team’s win the night before, said baseball was his favorite sport.

“You get to play with your friends and old teammates,” the 10-year-old said.

Even with a number of elected officials, including a New York state senator, on hand for the ceremonies, it was the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager who stole the show.

Squatting behind home plate was 12-year-old Brian McKillop, waiting as Lasorda lobbed in the first pitch of the season. He had only one thing going through his mind.

“I was hoping that I wasn't going to drop it,” McKillop said. “I’m a lefty and I was using a righty glove.”

Still grinning 10 minutes after squeezing the throw, McKillop said it was pretty cool to catch a pitch from Lasorda.

“It’s going in my room,” he said. “I’m going to get a case for it.”

Before the end of the day, Lasorda left the players with a few words of advice.

“It’s a lot of fun to play sports and this is the opportunity you are getting,” he said. “This is going to establish the way you live your life.”

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