As part of Harlem RBI, I was privileged to experience the energy of baseball in the Northeast this weekend. All-Star teams from the NE region, including teams from Boston, Providence, Newark, Syracuse, Pawtucket, New Jersey, and all the boroughs of New York, competed in a tournament sponsored by Major League Baseball for the RBI program. “Harlem RBI provides inner-city youth with opportunities to Play, Learn and Grow. We use the power of teams to Coach, Teach and Inspire youth to recognize their potential and realize their dreams. ” (from http://harlemrbi.org/)
While the aim of the program is to use sports for development, the tournament is competitive to say the least. The finals for the Sr. Boys team (18 & under) and Junior boys team (15 and under) were held at Yankee Stadium.
The girls’ softball held their finals at the RBI Field of Dreams on 101st st in Manhattan. The Jersey City girls won the Softball championship, and also sent teams to the finals in each of the 2 boys divisions. While they won the regional championship in the Junior boys division, they lost the Men’s Sr Division at the last moment, after leading 1-0 the entire game. In the bottom of the seventh, their opponents, the Sandlot team of Greater New York, had runners on 2nd and 3rd and sent Joe Arena to the plate. Arena ripped a single between the shortstop and third baseman and the coach waved both runners home. Steven Goldstein, pinch running for Jon DeMarte, slid into home to win the game.
Scoreboard – http://rbinert.harlemrbi.org/results.shtml
Click here for more photos of the tournament. The weekend featured an excellent group of coaches, fans, volunteers, and players