Nicholas Singh, head coach of the Little Neck-Douglaston Lightning little league baseball team, is looking forward to the start of the spring league’s playoffs Sunday.
The team went 10-3-1 during the season and will take part in a “triple-header” tournament, where the winners of the first two games played among the four teams will advance to the finals.
Singh has devoted a lot of time not just to improving his players’ skills and coaching his team, but also to expanding the league with other small leagues in the area. According to Singh, he’s already been successful in recruiting at least four teams from Queens to take part in the fall Queens Little League Alliance Division. This has helped the 11-to-12-year-old division grow from three teams to a minimum of seven.
“My job has been to find more teams and bring them together into one league,” Singh said. “My personal goal was to reach between six and 10 teams for the fall league. I’ve also been spending a lot of time recruiting, spreading the word out to friends and putting signs up about the league.”
Singh has put in all this work growing youth baseball in Queens voluntarily. He estimates that he devotes 14-16 hours a week to helping the league, whether as a coach or recruiter. Even when not putting in the volunteer work, Singh still puts kids first in his day job as the assistant principal at I.S. 010 Horace Greeley middle school.
With Singh’s assistance, Little Neck-Douglaston’s league grew from just 14 kids to 51 this spring. He’s already working on recruiting for the fall league, with 11 kids already signed up to join it.
Last Saturday, Little Neck-Douglaston and the rest of the league held a barbecue at Crocheron Park to celebrate the season’s end. Singh said he helped organize the event because he wanted to leave the parents, coaches and kids with a good feeling. Trophies were given out to the kids and a DJ was on hand to provide musical entertainment. Singh estimated that around 100 people took part in the barbecue.
During the barbecue, Singh was recognized for his dedicated volunteer work on behalf of the league. The league gave him the “Volunteer of the Year” award.
“Being recognized for the work I’ve put into this league means so much more to me than getting paid,” Singh said. “I want my legacy to be for the community to know everything I did for it.”
While the fall league hasn’t started yet, Little Neck-Douglaston has already begun playing teams outside of their division. Some of these teams will end up taking part in the fall league.
Singh said he’s already begun reaching out to the parents of the kids on his team about signing up for the fall league. As an added incentive to get them to join, there’s a $25 discount for fall registration until July 1. Once that deadline is reached, the cost will go back up from $150 to $175.
While the fall league schedule hasn’t been announced yet, Singh has an idea of how the season should start. He wants Sept. 11 to be the opening date, as a way of honoring the city and those who risked their lives to save others on Sept. 11, 2001.