HASBROUCK HEIGHTS, NJ -- The morning skies were sunny with a slight breeze for Hasbrouck Heights Little League's Opening Day parade and ceremonies on Saturday, where the League also honored a former Board president and retired United States Marine who threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Players, managers and coaches met at Borough Hall. Getting an escort from the Hasbrouck Heights Police Department, the group paraded through town, down Central Avenue to Burton Avenue and winding down Ravine Avenue to the Little League Complex. Once assembled on the field, sixth grader Lea Lepenica sang the National Anthem. Current League president Ken DeBaun thanked the sponsors and parents for all their help in preparing for the new season. He acknowledged members of the Borough's Council in attendance, including Mayor Jack DeLorenzo, and Councilmen Ron Kistner, Christopher Hillmann and Steven Reyngoudt. He also acknowledged the Executive Board for all the work in the off-season.
The League honored its heritage when the organization's former president and retired U.S. Marine Neil Reyngoudt threw out the ceremonial first pitch to current player Joe D'Amico. Reyngoudt served as president from 1983 to 1988, and was also a manager and coach. The two-time Purple Heart recipient served in the Marines from 1966 to 1970, and was stationed in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. He was joined by wife Jean, and sons Steven and Brian.
Reyngoudt's son, Steve, explained that the day came about when resident Rose Pagan had noticed that the league's flag in center field was tattered and needed replacing. He said his parents would donate a new American flag to the league. Current vice president Neil Peterson realized that the elder Reyngoudt had been a past present and recommended the opening day honor to DeBaun.
"He was very, very happy," said Steve. "He saw a few guys that he knew, so he enjoyed it."
Five 12-year old players then took the Little League Pledge: Ethan Perez, Drew Eckert, Aidan Morrow, Charlie Stevens, and Caden Murray. The ceremony wrapped up as members of 2018 Major division championship team posed with the trophy.
Sunday morning brought the League's annual Pancake Breakfast and Tricky Tray/Sport Memorabila Auction. Breakfast offerings included four types of pancakes, plain, chocolate chip, blueberry, and, new this year, funfetti, sausage, bagels, crumb cake, donuts, orange juice, tea, and coffee. In addition, the sports auction/tricky auctioned off 74 prizes and a 50/50. All proceeds go to the Hasbrouck Heights Little League at its kickoff fundraiser of the season.
Hasbrouck Heights Little League is an all-volunteer community organization. The league has over 30 softball players and 235 baseball players, ages five through 12, in six divisions, Softball, T-ball, A, AA, AAA, Majors, and travel teams.
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