Oldest to the youngest a theme by Yankee Stadium for TM teams

Rich Mancuso

They assembled at legends Field which once was the old Yankee Stadium. TM Baseball Academy teams, the youngest to the oldest were putting in their final preparations before their respective games on fields in walking distance from each other.

Jesse, as always, made sure that everything was up to par as she paced from one field to another. Though, on this Thursday evening, with Yankee Stadium in the background, it was a special night because the future of TM had their first organized game. The 7-year olds made sure their uniform shirts were tucked in as they listened to last minute instructions.

It is not easy keeping the younger guys patient. They wanted to get the ball and take the field. On the other side of Legends Field, a park built in conjunction with the city of New York and the Yankees, the older 16-year olds were ready for the first pitch.

It is a part of the daily summer regime for Jesse, Tony Melendez, parents, coaches and the youngsters at TM. Its baseball and all the work over the winter will continue to be on display this night and for the remainder of this month and next.

“This is where the results show,” Jesse said.  She gave one last shout to her younger team on the field. They are her inspiration, and the 7-year olds know that Jesse cares and wants them to succeed. Winning to them, of course is important. But learning and the dedication to what they do is a priority.

And success is always a priority for those who come and go at TM. just ask those who once played on the younger TM teams.

 Anthony Ortiz, the 17-year old catcher who will attend Jarvis Christian University, a four-year school in Hawkins Texas said, “Being always taught…stay in the game and win.” That learning process started when he came to TM three years ago when he played with a 14-year old TM select team.

Ortiz this night would get a triple and score a run, and that wasn’t easy. Coach Jefferson Infante, a one-time draft selection of the Kansas City Royals, had Ortiz inserted in the DH spot as TM opposed a team known as Cyclone Malador, a group of players their age from the Dominican Republic and nearby community.

“Focusing on your job and getting on base,” Ortiz commented,” about the transition from commanding the game behind the plate to the DH role. “Watch what the pitcher does with other batters and their tendencies.”

“I put guys all over the place for a weekend tournament,” Infante explained, one of the reasons Ortiz was inserted as the DH.  “See a lot of guys getting better, moving guys in other positions.  It’s early in the season for the summer and it’s all about teaching the kids.”

He added, “These guys put a lot of work in the winter. They got to the cages every day. Tony gives them the opportunity to work in the cages over the winter.”

And as the first baseman this night, Anthony Nick Gennarelli said “I’ve grown the past three years I’ve played here. It’s going about doing your job and going to the next level. For him, it’s graduating Salesian High School up in nearby New Rochelle and playing competitive baseball on the college level. 

Prior to Ortiz getting the triple, the younger guys, playing on a field at the front of Legends, put the finishing touches on their first win. When it was over, Jesse and the parents, who play a vital role at TM, escorted the younger guys around the adjacent fields to root on their role models.

They cheered behind the home plate and first base sides of the fence, “Let’s go TM, Let’s go TM.” In a matter of time, they will be on the same field, as the progression continues from the youngest to the oldest at TM Baseball Academy. 

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