PISCATAWAY, NJ – The excitement was building as hundreds of area little league baseball players and their coaches waved to families and friends as they marched down Sidney Road to the Piscataway Little League complex, an annual tradition that marks the start of baseball season in the township.
Members of town council and other officials led Saturday’s parade as fire trucks and ambulances followed behind with their sirens blaring and emergency lights flashing, all to let neighbors know it was time to “play ball!”
Teams from the major, minor and Challenger leagues and T-Ball program gathered around the diamond on Field 2 where they were formally welcomed to the start of the 2018 season.
“Piscataway is officially a ‘Let’s Play Ball’ town,” announced Mayor Brian Wahler, letting the players know their game photos could appear on the Major League Baseball website throughout the season.
“It’s good because some of the kids will get to see themselves on the Major League website,” he said before throwing out the first ceremonial pitch that went over home plate.
Councilman Jim Bullard, a former president of the little league program also threw a ceremonial pitch, as did players from the T-Ball program and the Challenger League which has teams for children 6-18 with special needs who play on a specially designed ballfield in the complex.
As the young players waited in anticipation of playing in their season opener games later in the day, PLL officials paid tribute to three former little leaguers, who several years ago, each passed away at young ages.
“We would like to remember the three young men who were taken away from us too soon,” said Executive Vice President, Sukie Flores, about Daniel Nols, Matt Hollan, and Matt Goumas who he said all loved growing up playing the game at the complex.
“As the years go by and our angels are no longer with us, they will not be forgotten,” Flores continued as their fathers uncovered a wreath dedicated to their memory.
The Piscataway Little League’s major and minor leagues use familiar team names borrowed from professional baseball, including the Red Sox, Yankees, Mets, Pirates, Blue Jays, Athletics, Cardinals, Indians, and Orioles.
The program also includes T-Ball teams for children 5-7, and a Challenger League for children 6-18 who have special needs and play on a specially designed ballfield.
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