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ValleyCats lend a helping hand to local little leagues

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Albany/HV: ValleyCats lend a helping hand to local little leagues
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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. -- The bases will soon be loaded as little league players will run their way around the newly renovated Michigan Avenue Field in Schenectady. It's all part of the '4 in 24' initiative with the Tri-City ValleyCats and BlueCross BlueShield.

"We renovate four fields in the tri cities in 24 hours," said Rick Murphy, the general manager and vice president of the Tri-City ValleyCats. "They know how important it is to play on a safe field, on a refurbished field, especially with opening days coming up in the next week or so."

Some of the men helping with renovations have a personal connection with the field.

"I was a little 5-year-old, a little 8-year-old when we first played here. This is where we played our games," said Joe Loudis, a member of the 1954 Little League World Series Championship Team.

Loudis joined the Schenectady Little League in 1950 for its opening year. His team went on to win the World Series in 1954.

"It was just tremendous to be a part of the team," said Loudis.

"We reminisce a lot too, Joey and I," said Tony Buonome, a former player with the Schenectady Little League.

Buonome has his own memories of the Michigan Avenue field.

"My wife gets mad at me. I hit one home run here and I can still see the ball hitting the bat, and she says, 'You don't remember what you had for breakfast yesterday, but you remember that,'" said Buonome.

To see the field refurbished has meant a lot to players in the past and the future.

"There's been a drop over the years with the numbers. I think other kids in the community will come by and see this and it'll hopefully encourage them to sign up for baseball as well," said Sara Siddons, the co-president of the Schenectady Little League.

The three other fields being refurbished as part of the initiative include:
•Twin Town Little League field on Williams Road in Troy
•Spring Youth Baseball field on Spring Avenue in Troy
•Berne-Knox-Westerlo Little League field in Westerlo

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