Queens Alliance is preparing to start its spring 2023 season, with Opening Day scheduled for April 15. Kids can still be registered for the league throughout the month of March, as teams in each age group are being organized.
According to Little Neck-Douglaston 12U Head Coach Nicholas Singh, there has already been an uptick in the number of kids set to take part in the league as compared to last season. Singh, who also acts as one of the league organizers, said the growth from 50 to 77 kids is the highest growth that the league has seen in at least five years.
“We expect to have teams from all over the borough,” Singh said. “[This includes] Bayside, Douglaston, Whitestone, College Point and Glen Oaks. We’ve had the best offseason in five to six years in terms of registration and growth. We still have plenty of time to exceed 80 kids. We are definitely growing back to pre-COVID levels.”
The Queens Alliance is available for kids from ages 5-12. They will be divided into four different age groups. Five and six-year-olds will be in the Pee Wee Division, which is entirely instructional. Seven and eight-year-olds will be in the AA Division, which is still somewhat of an instructional league, but scores will be kept and playoffs will occur. Rather than kids pitching at this level, there will be a pitching machine.
The Minors Division is for those nine and ten years of age. It acts as a more competitive environment as compared to the previous divisions, with playoffs occurring at the end of the season. The final division, known as the Major Division, is for kids aged 11 and 12. It acts as the most competitive division, with playoffs occurring at the season’s conclusion.
According to Singh, the entire coaching staff for each team is run by parents and guardians who volunteer their time for the league. He also noted each team will likely have about 12 players. However, the fact that there are many more players signed up for the older age groups than the younger ones could lead to that number varying for certain teams, depending on how many kids are registered by the beginning of the season.
The Queens Alliance has also grown in terms of sponsorships. Among the sponsors that Singh noted were Villa Rustica Ristorante and Pizzeria and Gino’s Pizzeria in Bayside, Five Guys in Bay Terrace, East Hills Chevrolet of Douglaston and Shoe Village of Flushing.
“We’re a homegrown team,” Singh said. “All the kids live in the neighborhood and they’re all walk-ons. It’s not like a travel program. We are a true nonprofit. We’re all volunteers. We are doing this for the neighborhood and for the kids.”
While rosters are already being assembled, registration for the Queens Alliance will remain open until April 1. The total cost for enrollment ranges from $175 -$215. This pays for field permit fees and umpire fees, in addition to a jersey and cap. The spring season will include 12 regular season games before the playoffs.
Singh estimates that the season will conclude in mid-June. In addition to holding pizza nights and picture day, Singh said there will be an end-of-season barbeque on Father’s Day weekend. He is also hopeful about arranging a tournament for the upper leagues to participate against teams outside of the Queens Alliance and from other boroughs or Long Island.
“If we have a really good team at one of the divisions, we’d like to do a weekend travel tournament against teams out of our division,” Singh said. “It takes some phone calls and finding teams that will be looking to put together a small invitational tournament.”