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Central Islip Little League urges upgrades at town ballfields

Joe Hennie, president of the Central Islip Little

Joe Hennie, president of the Central Islip Little League, says ballfields are in need of repair. Credit: Johnny Milano

Central Islip Little League is urging the town to fix ballfields and facilities on Eastview Drive that they say are in dire need of repair.

Club leadership said they have attended town meetings, made phone calls and written emails to Islip officials for about two years asking for fixes for fences with holes, waterlogged fields and an unpaved parking lot.

"I'm disappointed," said league coach Roc Romain, who has sons, ages 9 and 7, in the league. "These kids, we try to teach them life lessons off the field. When they leave here, and they see other fields, they're seeing a life lesson that it is not fair. … That is just how it is."

League vice president Leigh-Ann Barde Romain and league president Joe Hennie most recently voiced their complaints at Tuesday's Islip Town Board meeting, where Supervisor Angie Carpenter urged patience. 

 "As of today, the gate at the Central Islip Little League Fields has been repaired," Carpenter said in a statement Friday. "This administration inherited many challenges at the Central Islip fields from the developer. We are addressing all of these issues, including working with the Town’s engineering division to establish a long-term solution to remedy the flooding that exists.”

A T-ball field, one of two, has been unusable for two years because it is sopped with water, Hennie said. 

The league serves about 175 boys and girls ranging in ages from 4 to 16. The property includes seven fields for baseball, softball and T-ball.

“This Little League has made this community home for us,"  Leigh-Ann Barde Romain said. "I look at it as a second home. It’s not just a matter of our field, but our community overall.”

Club leaders also said they worry about injuries from playing on fields that stay saturated for days after rainfall.

"It is the slip and fall aspect of it," Roc Romain said. "These kids are wearing cleats. Wet grass, a slip and fall, and the cleat catches wrong, they can tear an ACL, bust a shoulder."

The fields were completed in 2013 by developer Andy Borgia with JABS Sports Management LLC in Yaphank. In 2010, Borgia, who built the Baseball Heaven sports complex in Yaphank, made a deal with the town to build a $45 million, 300,000-square-foot indoor and outdoor sports complex on the old Little League fields at Carleton Avenue. As part of the agreement, Borgia built the $2 million fields for the Little League. 

Borgia could not be reached for comment Friday.  

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