Spring is here and it’s time for baseball and softball. The Lincroft Little League’s 56th season was launched on Saturday, April 16 with the annual parade and opening day ceremonies.
The weather was perfect and the venue started with the traditional trek down Newman Springs Road to the ballfield. Leading the procession was Lincroft Little League president Deborah O’Connor, accompanied by Middletown Township Committeeman Kevin Settembrino. Teams followed with their newly created banners displayed and maintained their pace, in spite of being distracted by candy being thrown by parade-goers along the route.
The on-field activities began with the National Anthem being sung by 11-year-old Niani Walker. Her performance was impressive and, considering her age, truly outstanding. Deacon Richard Tucker of Saint Leo the Great gave the invocation. Committeeman Settembrino then addressed the crowd and spoke of the contribution of the league to the community and acknowledged the continuous improvements made by the league’s officers.
President O’Connor then announced this year’s Volunteer of the Year (VOTY) awards, starting with Rose Curley, who was recognized for her work on Opening Day and various fundraising initiatives. Ryan O’Keefe was cited for utilizing his skills to update the league website. The third VOTY went to treasurer Vlad Berson for capital improvements that he has achieved. Dean Esposito then took over the microphone and presented Ms. O’Connor with an “Outstanding Service Award.” In presenting the award, he stated it was “in recognition for the many years of dedication and devotion to the Lincroft Little League.”
The day’s festivities continued with face painting by Riley Coneeny, tattoos by Dana Endersen, inflatable games, and vendor samples from Melody’s and Duck Donuts.
This year, 850 youngsters will enjoy activities made available by the Lincroft Little League, including a Challenged Youth Sports program with 90 participants. Last fall, the league applied for and received a grant from Little League International. The funds were dedicated to renovating softball field #4 with new sod, sprinklers, bases, and backstop padding.