This Sunday, kids across Queens will tee off in a Jr. Home Run Derby at Elmjack Little League. As part of a nationwide program sanctioned by Major League Baseball, the Variety Boys & Girls Club of Queens is partnering with Elmjack to help bring kids back to the baseball field.
“It’s a great opportunity and MLB is a great partner,” said Variety Boys & Girls Club CEO Costa Constantinides. “They’re doing a great job fostering youth baseball nationwide.”
All kids ages 14 and under can sign up to participate in this weekend’s event, with the winners invited to a regional tournament featuring derby winners from across the Northeast. The winners of the regional tournaments will get a trip to the World Series for the Jr. Home Run Derby finals.
“I would like to thank Elmjack Little League for hosting this event,” said Charles Malone, Athletics director. “Our partnership with The MLB is something we are really excited about. What better way to kick things off in the community than with a Home Run Derby!”
It’s not all about winning however, as the goal is to get kids out for a fun day at the park, swinging for the fences, and enjoying getting back on the field.
“It’s about every kid smiling,” said Constantinides. “It’s about every kid hitting a ball over the fence, jumping with their friends, and celebrating with their families.”
After a long year where youth sports were badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic, partnerships between the Boys & Girls Club and Elmjack are one of many that can help get kids back on the field. Little Leagues across the nation were already struggling with youth participation in past years, and the pandemic only made things worse for plenty.
In the ongoing Elmjack Spring season there are far less teams than before. Three teams make up the Bantam division while there are just two in Peewee, Division 1, Division 2, and Pony division. With so many kids off the field, little leagues have lost a lot of their shine. Now is a perfect time to kickstart the resurgence of local leagues and events.
“That’s why we stayed home,” said Constantinides regarding the pandemic and lockdown. “We waited for things like this and kids had nothing programmed for them. Now more than ever, they need the Boys & Girls Club.”
Now, kids across the borough can come out and enjoy a nice day at the park, something that many have been missing for far too long. It’s a great sign as Summer begins, and with kids playing ball again, things will start to feel much more normal.
“If you’re a kid in Queens, you can come take your cuts,” said Constantinides. “We’ll see you all there on Sunday.”
To register for the Jr. Home Run Derby, visit https://bgcqueens.org/homerunderby. The competitions will take place on Sunday, June 13th at Elmjack Little League at 78-1 19th Rd, East Elmhurst and will begin at 12:00 noon.