ARDSLEY, N.Y. Brothers Anthony and Vincent Sabia have been playing sibling stickball and wiffleball for more than 40 years, since their boyhood days back in Brooklyn when street and playground games meant everything, especially on long summer days.
Saturday, the Sabia brothers teamed with sons, cousins, godsons and neighborhood buddies to form the Birchwood Bombers, a Hartsdale entry in the Fourth Annual Westchester County Wiffleball Tournament held at V.E. Macy Park.
Wow, Ive been playing since I was six -- for 43 years or so -- and with my brother Anthony for 40 years, Vincent Sabia said. We live in Greenwich now, but we came down to play with the family. Its out first time here.
Anthony Sabia, brother Vincent, Vincent Jr., neighbor Sal Cappiello and Somers resident Matt Michaud made up the Hartsdale-based roster. The Sabias and Cappiello live in the Birchwood area of Greenburgh.
Hitting a wiffleball is something we learned early and our kids love it too, Anthony Sabia said. It takes patience. You have to wait until the last split second, that last movement, then flick the bat. Its not easy.
As for pitching the always-moving, slotted-holed plastic ball, Anthony Sabia Sr. says its all about controlling the uncontrollable.
Anyone can make the ball move, Anthony Sabia said. The idea is to have it move into the strike zone at the last moment. Its the arm angle and how well you can do it over and over.
Twenty-five teams from Westchester communities, New York City, Long Island and Connecticut competed in the open tournament that began at 9 a.m. and ran through the finish as darkness fell. A Mamaroneck entry named Wiffle Ball to the Face, captained by Dave Adler, defeated EBP of Long Island, 1-0 in the championship game.
Birchwood, led by the veteran Sabia brothers, survived the long morning of round-robin games to reach the final 10 that played single-elimination for the title and finished a respectable ninth overall. Michaud said he enjoyed being part of the first-timers at the county tournament.
I played football and other sports, but wiffleball is something I grew up playing with my cousins, Machaud said. Being here is great. These players are all good.
County Recreation Supervisor Ike Kuzio said monitored the five stations where games were being played simultaneously.
Its a fun event, but the guys get intense when it comes down to the final rounds, Kuzio said. Weve grown to 25 teams and it gets bigger each year.
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