Borough little leagues celebrate new season

Players from the Union City Little League Royals tip their caps to the crowd during opening ceremonies last Saturday at the Joe Joy Complex in Naugatuck. –KEN MORSE

NAUGATUCK — The biggest fan of the Little League opening day weekend in Naugatuck was the weatherman. Both the Union City and the Peter J. Foley little leagues ushered in another season of youth baseball in the borough last weekend under bright, sunny skies.

Union City Little League held its ceremonies Saturday at the Joe Joy Complex behind City Hill Middle School. It marked the 29th season at the current site as parents, fans and friends joined the local dignitaries to celebrate the 63rd season of Little League Baseball in Union City.

League president John McSweeney addressed the crowd and introduced Mayor Bob Mezzo, Deputy Mayor Tamath Rossi, state Rep. Rosa Rebimbas (R-70), Burgess Laurie Taf Jackson and District III Little League Director Wendell Stieber.

A moment of silence was observed in honor of longtime league volunteer Gary Grom, who passed away earlier this year. The Grom family was on hand to accept an award presented in Gary’s honor as his wife, Sue, addressed the crowd.

One by one, each team was introduced as the young ball players ran in from center field, waving their caps to the cheering crowd. Lisa Antrum gave a sterling rendition of the national anthem and it was time to play ball.

Coach Shannon Russell and her team enjoy some time in the sun during the Peter J. Foley Little League opening ceremonies Sunday at the league’s complex on Scott Street. –KEN MORSE

Across town, the American tradition continued Sunday as Peter J. Foley began its 63rd season at one of the oldest Little League fields in New England.

The picturesque ballpark located off Scott Street was filled to capacity as league president Bob Dibble introduced Mezzo, headlining a list of dignitaries that included state senators Joe Crisco (D-17) and Joan Hartley (D-15) along with state Rep. David Labriola (R-131) and Executive Director of Naugatuck Housing Kevin Knowles.

Mezzo reminisced about his playing days at Peter J. Foley and each guest offered congratulations before the long-awaited words: “Play ball.”

A perfect opening day at Union City

NAUGATUCK — Opening Day at Union City Little League was perfect for pitcher Francis Phelan — literally.

Francis Phelan pitched a perfect game for the Union City Little League Pirates on opening day, April 28. –CONTRIBUTED

Phelan, who pitches for the Pirates, tossed a perfect game and retired all 18 batters in a 6-0 victory over the Yankees on April 28. He struck out 13, induced four ground ball outs and allowed one fly ball for the last out.

On the final play of the game, Nick Testone hit a line drive into the right centerfield gap.  Matt Pimpinelli, the Pirates’ center fielder, made a running catch to end the game.

Corey Grohs, the Yankees’ starter, kept the game scoreless into the fifth. The Pirates scored three in the fifth and three in the sixth. –Erine Bertothy

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