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Junior athletes march in area’s Little League kickoff

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Photo gallery

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Players for the Giants run along Myrtle Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Thomas John San Andres holds hands with his little sister Gabrielle. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Players march in the street in Glendale during the annual Ridgewood-Glendale-Middle Village-Maspeth Little League Parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Samuel Rivera salutes firefighters during the parade. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Junior ROTC members from Franklin K. Lane High School march on Myrtle Avenue. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Lucas Clausen, 5, gets a ride on his father Ken's leg. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Players from the Braves team form a huddle as they walk.
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Nicky DiStefano tries to tie his shoe as he walks. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Dozens of parents and players march in the street in Glendale. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Rodney Otero uses a blow horn to show his support. Photo by Christina Santucci
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A young member of the Cubs team flips through the air. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Even this bulldog wanted in on the festivities. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Aidan Perovic (l.) and Daniel Torres get comfy on the grass. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The Yankees march in a line. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Children play Duck Duck Goose. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Players cheer for their sponsor, Home Beer.
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Junior ROTC members from Franklin K. Lane High School march on Myrtle Avenue.
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Players cheer as they march. Photo by Christina Santucci
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The Red Sox team stands together for a photo. Photo by Christina Santucci
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Members of the Glendale Community Observation Patrol stand together for a photo at the conclusion of opening ceremonies. Photo by Christina Santucci

Thousands of pint-sized athletes and their proud parents and coaches marched through Glendale Saturday morning in anticipation of another year of baseball with the Ridgewood-Glendale-Middle Village-Maspeth Little League opening parade.

“It was a long walk, but it was fun,” said 11-year-old Brady Pazkowski, of the nearly 2-mile-long procession. “Everyone’s laughing and talking to each other.”

Students from Franklin K. Lane High School on the Queens/Brooklyn border led the parade with a drumline and honor guard. The baseball players followed the music down Myrtle Avenue from 65th Street to Cooper Avenue, down Cooper Avenue to 78th Avenue and down 78th Avenue to Seither Stadium.

“The parade was excellent, a good way to kick off the season,” said Coach John Liotta. “The kids are excited.”

The younger children were decked out in T-shirts with the same names as Major League Baseball teams like the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals.

Semina Veloic, 6, said she would enjoy playing with the Little League’s Mets this year, her first year playing baseball.

“It’s fun to play,” she said.

The older kids wore shirts in many colors with an image on the front marking the Little League’s 60th anniversary and their team sponsors on the back. Some sponsors included Rosario Construction, Unlimited Mechanical and Glendale Bagels, whose team chanted “Let’s go bagels!” as they marched through Glendale.

“I enjoyed it a lot,” said Joseph DeMartini, 12. “It was pretty fun.”

While they were outnumbered by the marchers, adults who watched the parade from their windows or porches or the street outside also took pride in the morning’s event.

“I think it’s really outstanding,” said Glendale resident John Noble. “It’s beautiful.”

Rodney O’Tero, another Glendale resident, blew an air horn as the young athletes passed by his house.

“This is great. I love this,” O’Tero said. “My kids grew up playing in this Little League.”

At the end of the parade, the young athletes were treated to hot dogs and Powerade.

Antonio Pazimo, 12, said he was glad to see his old teammates again and to get ready to play a new season of baseball.

“It’s always been my favorite sport,” Antonio said. “It’s been part of my family for many generations.”

Liotta said he was looking for good results on the field.

“I think the season will be a lot of fun,” he said. “Kids will learn a lot.”

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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