WASHINGTON HEIGHTS — A Washington Heights little league is looking for participants big and small.
Michael Buczek Little League is returning to Washington Heights for its 26th season this month and is hoping to draw adult volunteers to help train the next generation of baseball stars.
"We need coaches," said Mary Jo Buczek, who helps run the family-operated group named after her late brother, an NYPD officer who died in the line of duty. Buczek said she'll take as many volunteers as possible.
Prior baseball experience isn't needed to work with children ages 4 to 9, Buczek said. The league is looking for volunteers to help teach children good sportsmanship and the fundamentals of the game.
"It’s really about teaching them the basics, how not to throw the bat at each other and how to shake hands after every game," Buczek said.
The season begins on April 26 with the annual parade from P.S. 48 Michael Buczek to the ball fields, located at Fort George and Amsterdam avenues. The league is holding a sign-up at the 34th Precinct Saturday from 4-6 p.m. Registration costs $140 and covers the cost of uniforms and trophies for players, although parents will need to provide children with their own baseball mitts.
This season, the little league hopes to sign up 250 to 300 children, Buczek said, although it will not host teams for children ages 14 to 15 because of low participation numbers.
"This is the first year we're not having our big kids," she said.
The league was founded in 1988 in honor of Officer Michael Buczek, who was fatally shot at age 24 that year while investigating a group of suspected drug dealers in Washington Heights.
The 34th Precinct retains close ties with the league, Buczek said, as several officers serve as coaches, and former players have joined the force as adults.
"Everyone becomes a family," Buczek said. "We've had kids who went through the program and now, 26 years later, their kids are signing up and they want to volunteer."
The 34th Precinct is located at 4295 Broadway near 185th Street. For more information on the little league, visit facebook.com/BuczekFoundation or call the 34th Precinct Community Affairs office at (212) 927-0287.