SOLANA BEACH — With baseball dubbed the “national pastime,” it seems only natural that children new to the United States be taught the game.
So that’s what a group of Solana Beach Little League players did on a recent Sunday afternoon.
More than two dozen members of two all-star teams helped a group of youngsters between the ages of 3 and 15 learn all aspects of the game through a partnership with Bridge of Hope, a nonprofit organization that helps refugees relocating from around the world and families going through transitions that include homelessness and dealing with domestic violence.
About 40 young immigrants, mostly from Africa, were paired with the Little League players in batting, throwing and catching stations.
Once they learned the basics, they were split into two teams for a “buddy game,” with each all-star matched up and helping a new player.
The session ended with the 9- and 10-year-old all stars playing the team of 11-year-olds so the new kids could see a game in action.
The June 1 event in City Heights came to fruition through the efforts of Christina Rosenberg, a Bridge of Hope volunteer whose son plays with Solana Beach Little League.
“She asked us if we would be interested in doing a clinic,” all-star manager
Nico Marcolongo said. “A lot of the kids had never seen baseball so we said, ‘Why not?’
“It was a great opportunity for our kids to get out and do something in the community, to give back, to be able to reach out to kids new to this country,” he added.
Marcolongo said it’s an event he’d like to turn into a tradition.
“We’ll definitely do it again,” he said. “It’s something we want our Little League players involved in for a long time. There were smiles all around.”