By Alex Ginsberg
About 400 Little Leaguers and their families braved the cold and rain for opening day festivities Saturday at the Glen Oaks Oval at 260th Street and 74th Avenue.
State Sen. Frank Padavan (R-Bellerose) and state Assemblyman Mark Weprin (D-Bayside) threw out ceremonial first pitches before joining the youngsters for a parade through the streets of Glen Oaks. Local police, firefighters and ambulance volunteers led the procession past many of the neighborhood businesses that sponsor the league's teams.
Following the parade, the children enjoyed free hot dogs, courtesy of Boarshead Gers Provisions before squaring off in three close ball games. In the boys' majors division (11- and 12-year-olds) The Kidz Inc. Astros defeated the Modell's Lions, 5-4 and the Century 21-Andron Yankees beat the Marsella's A's, 7-6. In the final game of the day in the senior softball division (girls ages 13, 14 and 15), Padavan's Blue Jays fell to Albertson-Herricks.
The league, which is now in its 52nd year, includes boys and girls ages 5 to 17.
“The parade is always the highlight of the season,” league President Joseph Conway said. “It signals the end of winter and the beginning of spring.”