-By the WestView News Staff
Winter might just be getting underway, but Greenwich Village Little League (GVLL) is already looking forward to spring. GVLL, which accepts registrants who live or go to school on the west side of Manhattan, from SoHo up through Green-wich Village and Chelsea to Hell’s Kitchen, opened registration for their spring season on November 17th, and spots are already filling up fast.
“Last year we returned to about 75 per-cent of where we were before Covid, enroll-ment-wise,” said Peter Marino, GVLL President. “We are anticipating that this coming spring our programs will be as full and as vibrant as they have ever been.” Games and practices are held on fields in-cluding Pier 40, JJ Walker Park, Chelsea Park, and DeWitt Clinton Park.
Let’s Play Ball! April 2022. Photo Dusty Berke
GVLL welcomes children from 4–16 years of age in its baseball and softball programs. Four-to-six-year-olds learn the basics in Tee ball, while the Junior Minors and Minors divisions offer ample opportu-nities for players from 7–11 years old, both novice and experienced, to get their feet wet, hone their skills, and connect with friends old and new. “One of the greatest features of Little League is how it expands our children’s circles of friendships beyond just their own school into the larger Man-hattan community,” said Marino.
More competitive 9–12-year-olds can try out for the AAA and Majors divisions, where scores are kept, standings are watched, and it all comes down to the championships in June. For middle and high school-age players — those looking to keep playing for fun, or to supplement their school seasons — the Junior and Senior di-visions offer the chance to compete in in-ter-league play with neighboring Little Leagues.
GVLL takes pride in its efforts to pro-vide inclusive programs that accommodate new players who are just learning baseball and softball, casual players who are focused on fun and exercise with friends, and those who are more experienced and passionate players. ToniAnn Bonade, executive vice president and director of GVLL’s travel program, explains, “We offer tons of clinics before and during the season to help novice players learn the fundamentals, and we also schedule our AAA and Majors divisions’ games during the week so competitive play-ers that want to play travel ball on the weekends don’t have to choose between that and playing Little League with their friends — they can do both!”
This strategy, which includes both pro-viding a supplementary travel program called ACEs as well as cooperating closely with other local travel programs, has been paying off. As covered in WestView News last June, GVLL’s teams performed well in the Memorial Day tournament played an-nually among Manhattan Little Leagues, and the league’s 10U team won the District 23 title in the Little League World Series tournament.
GVLL also offers the Challenger pro-gram, run in cooperation with Downtown Little League, for players from 4–18 years old (22 if still in school) with physical or developmental challenges. Players are coached and mentored in safe, accommo-dating, fun weekend games that never fail to leave smiles on everyone’s face. The Challenger program, which is free of charge, has exploded in popularity of late, welcoming over 60 players last year.
Challenger might be free, but baseball and softball registration fees run between $300-$450 depending on the age level, with early-bird discounts available until January 1st. Furthermore, says Marino, “GVLL offers scholarships to any families who request them. It is very important to us that any child in our catchment who wants to play is able to, regardless of financial cir-cumstances. The generosity of our sponsors and donors make it possible for us to ensure that.”
Registration is open until divisions and teams fill up. Weekend indoor workouts will be available at no extra cost to registered players beginning in December, lasting until just before the season begins on April 1st with the traditional Opening Day festivities at Pier 40. More information and registration forms are available at http://gvllnyc.com.