The fire trucks and first aid vehicles were blasting their horns in town on April 9th but, fortunately, they weren’t rushing to an emergency call. They were celebrating the opening of the Little League fields on West Webster Avenue, across the street from the Roselle Park High School, after being closed for half a decade. Even locomotive engineers from passing trains behind the field joined in and blasted their horns.
A parade of players, parents, friends, and fans started on Locust Street at the Roselle Park Middle School and made their way to the fields. When they got here, everyon excitedly took their places and stood while April, a young girl from town, sang the National Anthem. That was followed by Father Joe from the Church of the Assumption who gave a blessing.
“After five years, we have our fields back,” said Joe Petrosky, Roselle Park Youth Baseball & Softball League (RPYBSL) President. The fields had been closed due to contamination found by the New Jersey Department Of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP).
Mayor Joseph Accardi then welcomed the RPYBSL players to their new field. Even former mayor Joe DeIorio was on hand to thank Mayor & Council and all the volunteers for making the new field possible. Michael Genovese and Gary Bundy both received plaques for all their work with the RPYBSL as volunteers.
Members of the Chatzopoulos family were also on hand and were thanked for all their work and donations through the George Chatzopoulos Fund by Joe Petrosky and the RPYBSL.
Frederick Wolf, whose family had one of the fields named after them, said that his father, along with other volunteers, started the work on the two (2) fields in 1950 so that the children of Roselle Park could have a place of their own to play baseball. They, along with the Adase family, whose name is on the sister field, helped build the fields which today include softball in addition to baseball. Mrs. Julia Wolf, 94 years of age, added that she wanted to be at the opening ceremony in memory of her late husband who would have been 100 years old this year. She wanted to thank everyone for coming out.
After Frank Afflito threw out the first baseball pitch of the season and Katie Chatzopoulos threw out the first softball pitch, it was then time for the games to start. Teams Deegan Automotive, Master Electric, Team Bodtman, Bonita Banana, Caldwell Bankers, and Fun Time America all took the field to play America’s favorite pastime.