Baseball has arrived at the Jersey Shore, and it’s launch was a huge success! Drive by Hillel Yeshiva’s Saka field on a Sunday morning and you’ll get a warm feeling. Kids, ages 7-12, are wearing great uniforms and running around with smiles on their faces, playing baseball!
Deal Sephardic Network (DSN) could never have imagined the overwhelming response from the community. It took a lot of hard work. The goal was to bring a professional baseball program for our kids, but most importantly, to make it fun—win or lose. The kids are learning the right way to compete and to do the best they can.
The hard part was convincing the parents that the league was going to be great. A lot of parents weren’t sure that their kids were going to want to play, but after four weeks of recruiting, 80 kids had signed up!
This is where the coaches stepped up to the plate. The coaches, Sammy Saka, Charles Serouya, Ronnie Seruya, Marc Seruya, Jackie Ashkenazi, Alan Sasson, Erwin Braha and Joey Tobias, as well as other coaches for the younger kids, put in long hard hours to perfect the league. They took care of everything—from hiring the umpires, to writing the rules and running practices. Each and every person contributed in their own way, making everyone confident about the upcoming season.
When the tryout day arrived, the 80 applicants turned into 150 and the eight coaches turned into 30. That’s when we realized that this league is going to be something big. This could create memories like the Gemals Pals, Peaches Pirates and Red Devils of the men’s league one day.
Opening day brought wind, rain and 40 degree weather. We had to decide whether we should call the games or let them play. When the pl ayers heard there was a chance they might not play, they wouldn’t have it. For the first time in their lives, the kids won and the umpire said, “Play ball!” We had the honor of Rabbi Saul Kassin throwing out the first pitch. The DSN league was officially underway and the kids loved every second of it!
DSN then went on to give the kids the best of everything. A great website, professional uniforms, trophies, umpires, a weekly newsletter, full equipment and an upcoming family barbecue night. This wouldn’t be possible without the help of our many sponsors, including Abie Serouya and sons, Elan Rofe, Bon Bebe and many others. We would also like to extend a special thank you to Charles Saka and family for building Saka Field.
The younger kids also have a Pee Wee league at the Zekaria Field, where girls and boys are learning baseball and softball fundamentals, thanks to a great cast of professionals and parent volunteers.
So, if you should find yourself in Deal on a Sunday this spring, stop by and see for yourself. You will be impressed! And don’t forget to visit our website: www.youthball.info.
Jackie Ashkenazi is a member of the community. He is one of the many people involved in making the DSN baseball league possible.