NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – Hundreds of kids from North Plainfield marched from Green Acres Park to Krausche field to celebrate the opening of another season of baseball and softball. They walked with coaches, parents and local leaders; ate a lunch of a hot dog and chips; and got top-notch skills drills from professional coaches and high school players.
Recreation Director Dennis Passe opened the festivities by thanking all the volunteers -- Recreation Commissioners, coaches and Music Parents who provided the food – as well as the fire and police departments who handled traffic control for the march.
Mayor Michael Giordano then welcomed everyone. “Welcome on this beautiful day for Opening Day 2014. Thanks to the coaches and the kids for coming out and supporting this new season,” he said. “Have a fun time, learn a lot and play ball.”
Then the Somerset Singers, four girls who sing with the Somerset School Glee Club and also play recreation softball, sang a stunning live version of the national anthem to a completely hushed crowd. The softball swatting songbirds are Katiana Carter, Jimena Torres, Grace McGrath, Rachel Soto and Ria Brumbaugh.
The players then broke up to get skills coaching. Tee ball and coach pitch baseball went down to the middle school field to play with some throwing games and ride on a motorized train. Third through fifth softball and baseball players went to the lower field and track to receive instruction from high school coaches and players. The senior players stayed on the artificial turf of Krausche Field to work with the Varsity coaches and players on drills to build skills.
Varsity baseball coach Chris Eshleman said he and his players were happy to volunteer their time for the towns’ recreation program. “This is what makes a team, working together and helping to build the community,” Eshelman said. “Our players see these kids as the next generation of Canucks baseball and want them to be the best players possible.”
Global Automall was the prime sponsor of the parade and a large number of recreation programs. Global is one of the area’s largest auto dealers, and proud to be right here on Route 22 in North Plainfield.