World Softballers Swing In Harlem During July 4th Weekend

harlem baseballEvery year on the Fourth of July weekend, teams from all over the country — and beyond — come to the Colonel Charles Young Playground on 145th Street in Harlem to play in a storied “sling-pitch” softball tournament.

Spectators drink and chatter. Vendors sell empanadas and grilled chicken. It’s all very family-friendly.

But scratch the surface, and one will learn the Pelligro Sports Softball Tournament is losing its low-key atmosphere.

“Now there’s a lot more competition,” said Louis Rosario, general manager for the Connecticut regional team. “People come from all over the world to this tournament to represent their country.”

Rosario’s team recruits players from throughout the metropolitan area — while other teams import ringers from Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. And that’s in addition to an entire team from the D.R.


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“Where you find these players who are competitive, especially the pitchers, is outside this country,” said Harry Hernandez, an observer from Florida organizing his own international tournament in Jacksonville this fall. “They play the game there seven days a week.”

 

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