The NYC All-Star Sports Group kicked off the 2015 Borough Cup with a grand opening ceremony at Padavan-Preller Fields in Queens last week.
The Borough Cup was founded in 2014 by WFAN radio host Craig Carton, New York Mets’ Hall of Famer John Franco, and Brooklyn Cyclones Asst. GM Gary Perone, and pits the five boroughs best teams against each other for citywide bragging rights.
Over the following three weeks, more than 100 teams will participate in pool play across seven ages groups. The best teams in each pool will return to Padavan Preller Fields on August 8-9 to battle it out in the city playoffs.
The two teams left standing earn the chance to be crowned “Kings of NYC” at the City Championships on August 15 at MCU Park (U8-U12) and August 17 at Yankee Stadium (U13-U14).
After only having a U9 bracket in its inaugural year, the Borough Cup expanded to U8 this year after strong interest from area coaches.
When looking at the field, a few teams in particular stand out. First is the Bonnie Orioles. Hailing from the storied “Bonnie Youth Club,” the Orioles play in the competitive Parade Grounds League along with their younger counterparts, the Bonnie Tigers. Their biggest test will come in a road game at New Springville Little League on August 3 when they play the Richmond Titans.
Rounding out the pool are St. Columba, Throgs Neck Red Eagles, and the Whitestone Renegades.
Like the U8’s, the U9 teams are full with players who are getting their first taste of Borough Cup Baseball. The similarities stop there though, as expectations to live up to last year’s nine year olds will surely be on the mind of many of the teams in the field.
In Pool A, the TYA Tigers have their eyes on the City Playoffs on August 8 after losing to the #1 seed Richmond Titans last year. A single road trip to Padavan Preller Field to face the Bayside Rebels on July 30 maybe all that’s standing between them and an appearance in the city playoffs.
Pool B, on the other hand, features two organizations that went deep into last year’s U9 tournament. The other team to keep an eye on in Pool B is the Bonnie Rangers. The Bonnies won the U9 Brooklyn Bracket last year, and went all the way to the U9 Semi-Finals before losing to the eventual Champion, the NY Dynasty.
Rounding out the pools is a hand full of other programs that participated last year, such as the Youth Service League and St. Patricks. Of these remaining programs, the one who could play spoiler this year is the NY Prospects U9 Team.
When looking at the two pools, it is impossible to ignore the strength of the teams seeded in Pool B. The bracket has three teams that made it to the City Playoffs a year ago, including the Richmond Titans and Staten Island Elite.
As for Pool A, all eyes will be on the Elmjack Thunder and Bronx Bombers. Both teams made it to the City Playoffs last year, with the former making it all the way to the Semi-Finals before losing a 1-0 heartbreaker to the Richmond Titans.
With four playoffs bids up for grabs in the pool, Castle Hill, Bronxchester, Ozone Howard, and Bayside Little League all have a chance to get a taste of postseason action as well.
The group features many contenders from last year’s field, led by the Bronx Bombers. Last year’s U10 Bronx Bombers put on a show, earning the #1 seed in the City Playoffs en route to a 8-5 Championship Game victory over the Bonnie Braves.
Another team to keep an eye on in the U11 is the Ozone Howard Wolfpack. Last year another team from Ozone Howard (The Rangers) took home the division title after defeating the YSL Bomber, 7-6, in the City Championship. This Ozone Howard team appears on the path for similar success, after winning the New York District 27 Championship this year.
The Harlem Warriors, Astoria Storm, NY Prospects, and St. A’s fill in the rest of the pool. The Astoria Storm have the experience and just missed out on the playoffs last year, while St. A’s and the NY Prospects are coming off strong seasons in the Brooklyn Kiwanis League and the USABL respectively.
With four different pools, the U12 is the largest age group in this year’s field, which makes predicting outcomes that much more difficult.
In Pool A, the Titans Baseball Club appears to be strong contenders. The squad has already taken home two championships this year, winning the WBA and the Gameday USA Majestic Prospect Tournament. With pitcher Peter Rosales, who tossed a perfect game earlier this year, the Titans should be in good shape.
When looking at Pool B, the abundance of talent is quickly obvious. While the U12 DH Knights are coming off a Spring NY Travel Baseball League Title and a dominant opening day win, the favorite in this group remains the YSL Bombers.
Over in Pool C, the Forest Hills Indians are the only team that made it to last year’s City Playoffs, where they ultimately lost in the first round to Richmond County Baseball Club 16-3.
Round out the groups is Pool D. This is where the Ozone Howard Rangers will begin their quest to repeat.
In the U13, the conversation starts with last year’s runner up: the Bayside Little League Rebels. With the 2014 Champion USC Knights not entered in this year’s tournament, the Rebels naturally take on the role of title favorites.
In the U14’s, the Bonnie Paws stand out. Coming off their NYJB Koufax Memorial Day Tournament Championship, they will look to continue their organization’s success in the Borough Cup this year.
Photos Courtesy of metroBASEBALL