Community celebrates this 100-Year legacy in Long Beach


The Long Beach community came together to celebrate Baseball Day last Saturday, an annual tradition organized by the high school baseball program.

From clinics for both Little League and softball players to reunions of Long Beach High School team alumni and competitive games, the event was a testament to the legacy of baseball in the city.

The high school fielded its first squad 100 years ago this season.

“It’s 100 years, which is a really special sort of event,” the team’s current head coach, Jason Zizza, said. “We wanted to recognize that, and intertwined with that 100-year celebration, we had an alumni celebration. . . . We got it out on social media, and we sent email blasts, and we asked as many Long Beach baseball alumni to come back and join us on Saturday as possible.”

The day kicked off at noon with clinics for Little League players, divided into two age groups: T-ball and pitch drills for 6- to 9-year-olds and more advanced skills for those ages 10 to 12. Under the guidance of LBHS varsity baseball and softball players, aspiring athletes focused on improving their throwing, catching, batting skills.

“The Little Leaguers look up to our current baseball players as if they’re big leaguers,” Zizza said. “They want to meet them, they want to know their names, they look at them kind of in awe — ‘This is something I can be one day.’ They’re so respectful and so genuine, and they know so much about the game. ‘They’re so nice and kind to me, and teaching me in a really like caring way.’”

The alumni celebration in the afternoon honored former LBHS players from the early 1960s to the present day, who reconnected with old teammates and took to the school field wearing their jerseys and sharing memories of their time on the diamond.

After the high school’s junior varsity team won in a rout over Mineola, 20-0, the varsity squad easily defeated Mineola’s varsity as well, 13-3.

In addition to the on-field activities, fundraising efforts benefited the Long Beach/Lido Beach Little League and the Pop.Earth Foundation, a nonprofit focused on offering health and wellness sessions to those of all abilities on Long Island. Raffle ticket sales and donations raised about $3,000, which will be split between the two organizations.

“Different companies donated baskets, there were a lot of gift cards, and beach days, and Yankee tickets, and Mets apparel, and signed baseballs and shirts, and just a lot of different things,” Zizza said. He added that about 20 families in the high school program donated baskets, with some giving more than one. Money was raised through raffle tickets, baskets and 50/50 ticket sales. Local pop-up Zeebo’s Beast Feast made hamburgers for the day, with some of that money going to charity as well, and a Mister Softee ice cream truck donated some of its profits, too.

Zizza said there were “a lot of different perspectives and a lot of different ways to raise money, which is really special.”