By SAMUEL STERN
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr stepped to the mound as the catcher for the Kingsbridge Knights set up behind the plate. Diaz wound up and fired a strike right down the middle.
This marked the start of the fifth annual ‘Borough President’s Cup’ at Yankees Stadium on Thursday.
Hosted by Diaz, the New York Yankees and AT&T, the game featured the Knights and the Grand Slam Little League teams.
In order to be eligible to play in the game, the youngsters were required to maintain an ‘B’ average in school as well as a minimum 90 percent school attendance rate.
This allows them to live out the dream of nearly every teenage boy in the greater New York area: to play baseball in Yankee Stadium in front of family and friends.
As the 13 and 14-year-old kids took the field for pre-game warmups their excitement was evident but, it wasn’t to be mistaken for nervousness. They exuded confidence as they fielded fly balls and grounders.
The game saw a bit of everything: catchers on both side picked off base runners; fielders made errors and spectacular catches. There was even a ground rule double.
The skill set was impressive. Everything they did was very professional, from their technique in the field and at the plate to arguing balls and strikes.
Perhaps the best part of the event was the intensity of the crowd. Though there were maybe 200 people in all, they screamed and cheered with such intensity that it could easily have been mistaken for an MLB playoff game.
In the end, the Kingsbridge Knights prevailed by a score of 4-2. The losers were gracious as the two teams lined up to shake hands.