The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Future international stars meet on the diamond

By DON HEPPNER

It might sound a little far-fetched for Pound Ridge kids to battle Argentina in a baseball game, but it’s true. The game took place last week at the Pound Ridge Elementary School’s Little League field.

The Argentine team was brought to the United States with the support of Pablo Stalman and Pound Ridger Russell Hernandez, as well as other local residents. Mr. Stalman, who now lives in Argentina but maintains a residence in Bedford, was at the game as a supporter and on behalf of the Argentine team.

Born in Argentina, Mr. Stalman came to the United States in 1981 to attend Boston College on a soccer scholarship, and then later moving to Bedford.

At first, he was not much of a baseball fan. “I first found the game very boring and slow,” said Mr. Stalman. “But my eldest son, Sebastian, was into baseball, and that’s when I started getting into it.”

Sebastian played for the Pound Ridge Lightning, a team coached by Dan Fraioli and Mr. Hernandez. Mr. Stalman’s younger son Lucas now plays baseball on the Lightning.

Mr. Stalman finds himself watching baseball on TV “once in a while,” but his real interest in the sport is derived from watching his children play.

He said that since volunteering with the Bedford/Pound Ridge Little League, he feels like he belongs to a large family. “The coaches are great, the parents are great, the kids are all friends and to see the joy that the kids get makes the experience wonderful,” he said.

The evolution of last week’s game between Pound Ridgers and Argentine players began with Mr. Stalman’s moved back to Argentina with his family about two years ago.

“I went looking for baseball because my two kids played two sports that are hard to find in Argentina: baseball and girls soccer,” Mr. Stalman said. “I found soccer for my daughter and I found baseball for Lucas.”

But the baseball he found in Argentina was disorganized, played by poor children in an impoverished environment. “A few of them live in what we call shantytowns,” he said. “The kids played because they loved to play.”

The fields the boys played on were in terrible shape. Mr. Stalman recognized that he would have to return to Bedford and Pound Ridge if he was going to give Lucas a chance to play on a quality diamond.

Lucas looked at his father and said he just wanted to play baseball, and he didn’t care about the field. Mr. Stalman talked to many people in Argentina and the United States in a combined effort to raise funds to upgrade the field.

Still, there were obstacles to fielding a young team. “There is not one shop in Argentina that sells baseball equipment,” he said. “Not one.”

To that end, he formed a consortium and gathered enough money to buy an ample supply of gloves, baseballs, bats and batting cages.

This week, on Monday morning, the Argentine team played a team composed of 11- and 12-year-old members of ProSwing, a baseball instructional facility in Mount Kisco coached by Dan Gray, a former member of the Los Angeles Dodgers. ProSwing provided equipment for the visitors.

Mr. Gray said that the final result of the game didn’t matter, but that the kids on both teams had fun playing the game was what was important.

On Sunday, Wendy Primiano, owner of ProSwing, opened her facility to the boys and provided them with equipment and instruction.

“They were terrific,” Mr. Stalman said about the experience at ProSwing. “Before we left they gave us plastic water bottles — half the kids didn’t know what a water bottle was. The next day we played the Lightning and then we played a team from Somers.”

Mr. Hernandez said that he would work with Mr. Stalman to schedule a series of games next year.

“I am going to bring them every year, because they are nice kids and they are having a wonderful time,” Mr. Stalman said. “Everybody we’ve met couldn’t be nicer. I wouldn’t be able to do this without the help of Russ and Dan. These guys are like my kids’ uncles.”

The game of baseball is gaining in popularity throughout South America. “It’s growing slowly in Argentina, but it is growing,” he said.

His team went to the Pan-American Games earlier this year. They placed seventh out of 10 teams, winning three games. “The kids are getting experience and my son is still playing baseball,” said Mr. Stalman. “He comes to the States sometimes to play in a three-day tournament. Lucas loves the game and the people here.”



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The official newspaper of the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

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Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

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  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

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  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

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Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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JuLY 27, 2012

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

A ProSwing batter at the plate in the game between local players and Argentine youngsters on Monday in Pound Ridge.