Commack South Little League hopes to build ‘Field of Dreams’ for children of all abilities
Commack South Little League needs the community’s help to make America’s favorite pastime accessible to all children.
People from as far away as Queens play on the Commack South Little League Challenger Division Teams.
The junior and senior teams provide a space for players the chance to work on their game. Nathan Labarre has played baseball for five years and he's the junior team captain.
"It's kind of fun,” said Labarre.
Tyler Demeco has played with the Challenger League for 10 years. He said he’s working on two main goals this season.
"My goal for baseball as of now playing with this team it would be more [...] hitting and more throwing,” said Demeco.
Coach John Pizzarelli first got involved when his son Jake started playing.
"When I saw how my son, who has Down syndrome, he was very much into it right away,” said Pizzarelli. “It overjoyed me because it was something that him and I could share."
To make more memories for more players, their field needs a serious upgrade.
"Many of these kids won't ever step on a major league ball field, but this could be their field of dreams,” said Pizzarelli.
The team has to raise $350,000 to make much needed renovations to their fields. Commack South Little League President Ben DiGirolamo says the changes would better allow children with special needs to access the field and play baseball.
"The dugouts, they're not handicap accessible,” said DiGirolamo. “We actually have turned a couple players away who were in wheelchairs because there's no way for them to get on the field."
Challenger Division Asst. Director of Communications Jennifer Morales says the all-dirt field makes mobility an issue that stands in the way of allowing for a more inclusive team.
"We really want everyone to be in on it,” she said. “Even if you're in a chair. You can hit a ball. You could go to first base with assistance, but we need a field that you can do that on."
A common phrase from a beloved baseball movie is serving as the fuel the organization needs to improve the field.
"I know that it sounds like a corny catchphrase from a movie, but if you build it, they will come,” said DiGirolamo. “We will build our program off of this field for our challenger program."
If you’d like to support the team in their mission, a link to their GoFundMe can be found here.