The MidVille Crusaders, formerly known as the MidVille Dodgers minors, are gearing up for the season.
The non-profit team changed names to differentiate themselves from the older MidVille Dodgers teams.
Head Coach Vincent Filip has been hosting workouts for the 10-year-old players every Thursday night at Artistic Stitch in Glendale and Sunday mornings at PS 229 in Woodside.
Local high school coaches, along with former major leaguer Allen Watson – a former Yankees player and Christ the King Regional High School graduate – visit regularly to help out at practice.
The team is currently made up of 10 players from Maspeth, Middle Village, Long Island City and other neighborhoods throughout Queens, said Filip.
The Crusaders league play will open on April 6.
The team will travel to former major league great Cal Ripken Jr’s facility in Aberdeen, Maryland to compete in a three-day tournament from April 16 through April 19.
“Only the best teams from the Northeast will be competing,” said Filip.
The team will be competing in many tournaments this season, including a Memorial Day tournament in New Jersey, the Game Day USA tournament at Randall’s Island in Manhattan in June and the Baseball Heaven tournament in Long Island on Labor Day.
“We have a lot planned for out 10-u team,” Filip said of the younger players.
Along with those contests, the players will also be competing in the Sports at the Beach complex tournament in Delaware, a 16-team tournament featuring some of the best teams on the East Coast, Filip said.
“We expect to play about 75 games and obviously against the best competition. We aren’t going to play just anybody; we want to play the best,” Filip added.
The Crusaders are one of the few opportunities for the elite baseball player, according to Filip.
The players all make sacrifices to continue to grow and improve as a team.
Whether it is missing family parties, playing on the fourth of July, or spending a large part of their summer traveling to tournaments, all the players are committed.
The Crusaders are looking to add one more player to their talented roster, but the player needs to be just as committed to the team.
“We are looking not only for an elite player, but an elite family,” Filip said.
“This is a big commitment. These kids don’t miss and with such a small roster size no body can miss a game,” he continued.
The final results of this team will not be judge by wins or losses, but by the player’s development.
“It is about developing these boys. Our goal is to get these kids to high school,” he said.
The high school coaches that come down always emphasize the importance of good grades and the players know that without them, no matter how good they are at baseball, they will get nowhere, Filip said.
Filip will be looking to develop these fifth graders through baseball.
“Our thing is to make them better players, students and most of all better people,” he said.