There’s joy on the Upper West Side!
On Friday, July 29th, the West Side Little League’s Juniors Baseball tournament team — the Hawks — won the New York State Little League Championship.
The 13- and 14-year-old boys will next represent New York in Little League’s Eastern Region tournament, competing against teams in their age group from nine other states — New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. The winner of the Eastern Region tournament will go on to compete in Little League’s World Series for Juniors in Michigan.
“This is the first time in the 36-year history of the league that one of our teams has won a state championship,” League President Debbie Kling, emailed the Rag. “We are so proud of the players, manager, and coaches for this tremendous accomplishment. And thanks to the parents for their support. The team advances to the Eastern Region Tournament next week in Freehold, New Jersey. Go Hawks! Go West Side!”
Tournament teams are composed of the most talented and dedicated baseball players from the league’s Spring recreational program, Kling explained. Many of them have been playing together since they were eight years old. They play in Riverside Park, Central Park, and DeWitt Clinton Park.
The Hawks had a shot at the state championship in 2020, but the pandemic shut them out — or in. Last year they made it to the States, but did not snag the title. This year, it all came together.
WSR reached some of the players and parents by email.
“When it is done right, baseball is the most fun sport there is, and we did it right!’ said Tyler McCarthy, 14, who plays second base and pitcher. “It feels awesome to say I am a New York State champion!”
“They practice all year round and their efforts came through,” said Tyler’s proud father, Michael McCarthy. “This is a well-deserved victory! Go Hawks!””
“I’m proud that my son plays for a team that is truly diverse and reflects our community and city,” shortstop Xavier Lehmann’s father said.
“This team is like a family to me,” said Xavier, 14. “I’m happy that I could contribute and that we came this far.”
“We love playing together and having fun,” said Apollo Quijano, 14, left fielder.
“This team is like family,” Julian Glasgow, 14, shortstop, reiterated. Julian’s dad is Jim Glasgow, manager of the team. “We have played so many seasons together and made sacrifices for each other to get to this point,” Julian said. “I am looking forward to the future.”
The West Side Little League is a 501c3 not-for-profit organization composed almost entirely of parent volunteers — both on the coaching and administrative sides.