On September, this column highlighted the Teaneck Baseball Organization ("Not on Shabbos," 9/’3), a little league that does not play baseball on Friday nights or Saturday afternoons. In that story, Dr. Eric Rosen, a TBO coach, noted that observant kids often quit baseball when they turn 1′ because there is no Sabbath-observant baseball outlet after little league ends.
But this year, The Moriah School of Englewood has pushed the end-of-baseball age to 13 and even 14. Starting in May, the school will field a seventh- and eighth-grade boys’ baseball team, as well as a seventh- and eighth-grade girls’ softball team. The first yeshiva elementary school to compete in either sport, Moriah will compete against a full schedule of non-yeshiva opponents, including public schools and town recreation leagues.
"At this age (1′ and 13), most of these kids would be finishing up their careers in little league," said Moriah’s Coach Pete Tasca, who will coach the baseball team. "This will extend their careers past little league. Their only other option is to play on club teams," said Tasca, "and those usually play on Saturdays, so the kids can’t play on those."
Tasca, who has coached six Englewood Little League championship teams, added that Moriah’s players will, for the first time, compete on a regulation-sized baseball field. The distance between the pitcher’s mound and home plate will be 60 feet and six inches, up from 40 feet in little league, and the distance between the bases will be 90 feet, a steep increase from 60 feet in the junior circuit.
"My hope is that we at least reach .500 (an equal number of wins as losses), because many kids have never played on this size of a field," said Tasca. "There will also be leading, pickoff plays, and stealing. It’s full regulation baseball."
Opening day for the baseball team will be at Midland Park on May ‘. The season will continue with two matches each against Garfield, Leonia, Hackensack, Fairview, Bogota, and Elmwood Park. Moriah’s softballers will compete in a recreation league with Englewood Cliffs Girls Softball, Englewood Girls Softball, and Leonia Girls Softball. Moriah will play all of its home games will be hosted at Englewood’s Mackay Park.
Tasca said that he is currently seeking a team sponsor, as well two assistant parent-coaches for the baseball team. He is also interviewing head coaching candidates for the softball team. He can be reached in his office at (’01) 567-0’08, ext. 489.