Hometown pride is swelling for Massapequa Coast, which is playing in the Little League World Series this year. NewsdayTV’s Cecilia Dowd reports. Credit: Kendall Rodriguez

Massapequa is about to go worldwide, and it feels so good. Whether on a jumbo screen in John Burns Park or smaller ones in homes and restaurants, on Friday, all eyes in this South Shore community will be on 11 sons of Massapequa as they start competition in the Little League World Series, a rite of August with a global television audience.

The all-star 12-year-olds from the Massapequa Coast Little League clinched their spot among the elite — one of the top 10 Little League baseball teams in the United States — last week when they took down 1998 World Series champion Toms River, New Jersey, in the regional final in Bristol, Connecticut. That victory punched Massapequa's ticket to this year's storied tournament, which gets underway Wednesday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

It also cranked up community pride in the hamlet that until now was primarily known outside of Long Island as the hometown of acting's Baldwin brothers and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

“It’s a blessing that our team is so good,” said George Goldstein, 79, on Tuesday outside All American Drive-In, the Massapequa burger joint and postgame stop for generations of Little Leaguers.

“It puts us on the map for good things," said Goldstein, a Massapequa Park resident and retired public schools superintendent. “It also lets the little guys know that there’s a big future.”

A banner for the team draped across the Merrick Road drive-in's front proclaimed “Massapequa Pride” and “Hit Em Hard” — as it happened, popular sentiments among Tuesday's lunchtime customers.

“We’re so excited,” said Patricia Raabe, 65, a receptionist from Massapequa, as she carried out her lunch. “We’re really proud of our boys and we hope they win. We can’t wait for Friday.”

The wait ends at 7 p.m. Friday. That's when everyone turns to the Massapequa nine for the first game, against the winner of Wednesday’s West vs. Northwest matchup.

All games will be broadcast or streamed on ESPN. The Friday night watch party at John Burns Park is set, Raabe said.

“We have our Massapequa shirts ready," she said. "We’re all pumped up."

Her daughter, Victoria Raabe, 27, who graduated high school in Massapequa, said the team's accomplishment stirred up her own community pride.

“To know that these kids made it this far, it’s really exciting as an alumna of Massapequa,” she said.

Massapequa Coast, managed by Roland Clark, who played in the Mid-Atlantic Regional for the Massapequa International Little League in 1989, is Long Island and the South Shore's second Little League team to reach the World Series, which began in 1947. A Rockville Centre Little League team made it to Williamsport in 1978.

About a mile down the road from the burger drive-in, Henry Villeda, owner of Fredo’s Pizza & Pasta in Massapequa Park, adorned a spot on the wall of his eatery with plaques of a dozen Little League teams the restaurant has sponsored since 2010. Last week, Villeda tuned in to Massapequa Coast's  4-0 shutout of Toms River.

“We watched the game instead of watching the Yankees or the Mets," Villeda said, "so that tells you what’s going on."

Friday, he’ll be working at his restaurant but the game will be on.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to watch the game,” he said, adding with a chuckle that if his pizza on Friday comes out a little well done, “don’t complain because we were watching the game.”

Villeda said he supports children’s baseball because “You try to do the best for the community.”

“It brings a lot of joy to the town,” he said of the team’s success. “I think it will bring a lot of the kids to join, to practice other sports, not just baseball.”

Waiting for a slice of pizza, Brian Diffendale, 10, of Massapequa Park, who plays in the same Little League, said he’s been following the team.

“It’s pretty cool to see them get into the World Series,” Diffendale said. “I’m pretty sure they can pull it off.”

His mother, Andrea Diffendale, 40, a schoolteacher, said the watch parties have been an exciting boost for the community.

“It’s just a good morale for the town, something that we needed to bring everybody up after a long pandemic and just difficult times for everybody,” she said. “It’s kind of brought the town together.”

The boys’ athletic accomplishments help burnish Massapequa’s reputation, said Robert Zabbia, president of the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce.

“Massapequa is all about being one of the better places in the country to raise a family, so to see something like this happen really shows the highlights of Massapequa,” Zabbia said. “To have Massapequa on the map for something that our youth are involved in and worked so hard to get to, it’s just a great feeling.”

Craig Garland, president of the Massapequa Coast Little League, said the boys will be role models for players who follow.

“Those kids are living their dream right now,” Garland said. “All the younger kids have somebody to look up to in their program that can inspire them to work hard and do their best and try to get to that level of play.”

Michael Cracco, owner of a local insurance company and longtime coach and Little League sponsor, said this team shows the younger children he coaches what can be accomplished with hard work.

“I’m explaining to these kids, this could be you guys next year,” Cracco said. “Never give up on your dreams.”

Massapequa is about to go worldwide, and it feels so good. Whether on a jumbo screen in John Burns Park or smaller ones in homes and restaurants, on Friday, all eyes in this South Shore community will be on 11 sons of Massapequa as they start competition in the Little League World Series, a rite of August with a global television audience.

The all-star 12-year-olds from the Massapequa Coast Little League clinched their spot among the elite — one of the top 10 Little League baseball teams in the United States — last week when they took down 1998 World Series champion Toms River, New Jersey, in the regional final in Bristol, Connecticut. That victory punched Massapequa's ticket to this year's storied tournament, which gets underway Wednesday in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.

It also cranked up community pride in the hamlet that until now was primarily known outside of Long Island as the hometown of acting's Baldwin brothers and comedian Jerry Seinfeld.

George Goldstein, on Tuesday with his wife Evelyn outside All...

George Goldstein, on Tuesday with his wife Evelyn outside All American Hamburger Drive In in Massapequa. “It puts us on the map for good things …," he said of the Massapequa Coast Little League team's upcoming Little League World Series appearance. Credit: James Escher

“It’s a blessing that our team is so good,” said George Goldstein, 79, on Tuesday outside All American Drive-In, the Massapequa burger joint and postgame stop for generations of Little Leaguers.

“It puts us on the map for good things," said Goldstein, a Massapequa Park resident and retired public schools superintendent. “It also lets the little guys know that there’s a big future.”

A banner for the team draped across the Merrick Road drive-in's front proclaimed “Massapequa Pride” and “Hit Em Hard” — as it happened, popular sentiments among Tuesday's lunchtime customers.

“We’re so excited,” said Patricia Raabe, 65, a receptionist from Massapequa, as she carried out her lunch. “We’re really proud of our boys and we hope they win. We can’t wait for Friday.”

The wait ends at 7 p.m. Friday. That's when everyone turns to the Massapequa nine for the first game, against the winner of Wednesday’s West vs. Northwest matchup.

All games will be broadcast or streamed on ESPN. The Friday night watch party at John Burns Park is set, Raabe said.

“We have our Massapequa shirts ready," she said. "We’re all pumped up."

Her daughter, Victoria Raabe, 27, who graduated high school in Massapequa, said the team's accomplishment stirred up her own community pride.

“To know that these kids made it this far, it’s really exciting as an alumna of Massapequa,” she said.

Massapequa Coast, managed by Roland Clark, who played in the Mid-Atlantic Regional for the Massapequa International Little League in 1989, is Long Island and the South Shore's second Little League team to reach the World Series, which began in 1947. A Rockville Centre Little League team made it to Williamsport in 1978.

About a mile down the road from the burger drive-in, Henry Villeda, owner of Fredo’s Pizza & Pasta in Massapequa Park, adorned a spot on the wall of his eatery with plaques of a dozen Little League teams the restaurant has sponsored since 2010. Last week, Villeda tuned in to Massapequa Coast's  4-0 shutout of Toms River.

“We watched the game instead of watching the Yankees or the Mets," Villeda said, "so that tells you what’s going on."

Friday, he’ll be working at his restaurant but the game will be on.

“We’ll do whatever it takes to watch the game,” he said, adding with a chuckle that if his pizza on Friday comes out a little well done, “don’t complain because we were watching the game.”

Villeda said he supports children’s baseball because “You try to do the best for the community.”

“It brings a lot of joy to the town,” he said of the team’s success. “I think it will bring a lot of the kids to join, to practice other sports, not just baseball.”

Waiting for a slice of pizza, Brian Diffendale, 10, of Massapequa Park, who plays in the same Little League, said he’s been following the team.

“It’s pretty cool to see them get into the World Series,” Diffendale said. “I’m pretty sure they can pull it off.”

His mother, Andrea Diffendale, 40, a schoolteacher, said the watch parties have been an exciting boost for the community.

“It’s just a good morale for the town, something that we needed to bring everybody up after a long pandemic and just difficult times for everybody,” she said. “It’s kind of brought the town together.”

The boys’ athletic accomplishments help burnish Massapequa’s reputation, said Robert Zabbia, president of the Massapequa Chamber of Commerce.

“Massapequa is all about being one of the better places in the country to raise a family, so to see something like this happen really shows the highlights of Massapequa,” Zabbia said. “To have Massapequa on the map for something that our youth are involved in and worked so hard to get to, it’s just a great feeling.”

Craig Garland, president of the Massapequa Coast Little League, said the boys will be role models for players who follow.

“Those kids are living their dream right now,” Garland said. “All the younger kids have somebody to look up to in their program that can inspire them to work hard and do their best and try to get to that level of play.”

Michael Cracco, owner of a local insurance company and longtime coach and Little League sponsor, said this team shows the younger children he coaches what can be accomplished with hard work.

“I’m explaining to these kids, this could be you guys next year,” Cracco said. “Never give up on your dreams.”

When: The tournament began Wednesday.
Where: Williamsport, Pa., Howard J. Lamade Stadium.
Teams: 10 from the U.S., 10 international teams.
ABOUT MASSAPEQUA COAST
How they got here: The Long Island team qualified by winning the Metro Region championship last Friday.
When they play: Massapequa received a first-round bye. Its first game is Friday, 7 p.m. (ESPN) vs. the winner of West vs. Northwest (played Wednesday, 7 p.m. ESPN).
LLWS championship game: Aug. 28 — U.S. champion vs. international champion, 3 p.m. (ABC).

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