Sunday, February 7, 2016

Van Cortlandt league hosts International baseball tourney

By Felix Holoszyc-Pimentel
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Johnny, President of Van Cortlandt Baseball League, gives out participation medals to Wilmer Soriano, 14, Armando Gonzales, 14, Enmanuel Rodriguez, 15, Gregory Luna and other baseball players from the Dominican Republicā€™s Liga Antonio ConcepcĆ­on.

In what has become an annual event, the Van Cortlandt Baseball League hosted a daylong tournament against teams from the Antonio Concepción Baseball League, whose young players hail from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic.

This is the fourth year the tournament has been held, according to Van Cortlandt Little League president Johnny Arias. The first two years, the VCBL teams travelled to the Dominican Republic. But since then, the boys from Santo Domingo began visiting the Bronx. 

This years games were held at Van Cortlandt Park on Saturday. 

“These are friendly games,” said Arias, noting that the VCBL players now travel to Santo Domingo in the spring and host the Dominican teams in the summer.  

Arias believes that the trips benefit the local players in ways far beyond the baseball diamond. 

“I got of a lot of kids with parents from the Dominican Republic who have never been there themselves,” he said. “Bringing kids to the Dominican Republic introduces them to the culture baseball has created there, and it lets the kids from the Dominican Republic to see how we play baseball as well.”

The VCBL has been in existence for about 10 years, said Arias, a native of the Dominican Republic. The league currently has about 400 players and the vast majority of them live in the Bronx. The league plays its games from May through August. It also has a fall league as well as a baseball camp in April.

In this summer’s matchups, the locals were defeated by the Antonio Concepción League in two of the three games. The Dominican boys beat the VCBL 8-6 in the 10-years-old and under division and blanked the 12-years-old and under team 10-0.

However, in the third and longest game of the day, the Van Cortlandt Dodgers, the VCBL’s 15-years-old and under team prevailed 14-8.


Dodging a sweep


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