More than 500 Smithtown kids enjoy Field of Heroes ball clinic
Over 500 local youths turned out to spend the day honing their crafts on the ball field at Daniel J. Flynn Memorial Park on Aug. 21 The event was hosted by Smithtown Supervisor,Ed Wehrheim and New York state Sen. Mario R. Mattera, and included partnerships with MLB, Smithtown Central School District, Smithtown Recreation, Smithtown Youth Bureau, Nesconset Athletic Association, Kings Park Youth, Play Like a Pro Sports, Smithtown – St. James Little League and honoree foundation — Heros 4 Our Heroes.
The free baseball/softball clinic was offered to both male and female children ages 6-18, featuring former Major League Baseball stars and local school coaches. Children received personalized baseball playing cards, MLB baseballs, autographs, photos and complimentary lunch for participants and guests catered by Panico’s Italian Market of Nesconset.
“There is really nothing more gratifying as an elected official, than to witness hundreds of families enjoying such a memorable experience,” Wehrheim said. “This event could not be possible without the incredible support and partnership with Senator Mario Mattera and his team, Heros 4 Our Heroes, the work of our dedicated Parks Department, Recreation, Public Safety, and our spectacular volunteers from the Youth Bureau. I also would like to thank Panico’s Market for cooking for over 1,000 people, Nesconset FD, Capital Graphics and Trend it Branding, who went above and beyond to make Sunday special. Finally, thank you to the inspiring coaches, former MLB stars, volunteers and to our military and veterans organizations who brought forth an unforgettable day for so many local families.”
The Heros 4 Our Heroes foundation, founded by Panico’s, was honored with a NYS Senate Proclamation and a check which was presented by Smithtown High School West Student Gianna Cangro, who fundraised over $2,700 for the organization. Heros 4 Our Heroes is a local not-for-profit organization which has served our military, fire, police and medical heroes since Sept. 11, 2001.
Former Major League players Frank Catalanotto, Art Shamsky, Oreste Marrero, John Doherty, Sal Agostinelli, Frank Tepedino, Fred Cambria, Adam Greenberg, Charles Galiano, Rick Schmidt, Keith Osik and Don DeMola were stationed at various fields to inspire and teach the budding athletes. Additionally, former Hofstra Softball Head Coach Bill Edwards oversaw the girls softball program. Former Congressman Peter King volunteered to coach alongside Frank Catalanotto. Smithtown Superintendent of Recreation Tom McCaffrey and his son Ryan also teamed up to coach the youngest participants, in addition to McCaffrey’s work in coordinating the event with the supervisor’s and senator’s offices. At the end of the clinic, each child received baseballs and/or softballs, collected autographs and took photographs with each of the coaches.