Record 71 inning – 24-hour baseball game

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            At 3 a.m., the last thing on anyone’s mind is playing baseball, but for one league it was exactly that as they continued to play lots of extra innings.

            After 71 innings of non-stop 24-hour baseball, the Hollis-Bellaire-Queens Village-Bellerose (HBQVB) League produced the longest continuous youth baseball game in city history at MCU Park in Brooklyn, home of the New York Mets Single-A affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones.

            The event “Extra Innings With HBQVB” took place on Saturday, May 22 at noon and lasted through Sunday at noon as 638 players ranging from ages 5 to 18 participated in the event. Though the event raised money for various charity organizations, it was the coaches that took a liking into the event more than the players.

            “They don’t really know [how much] we enjoy seeing them [play],” said Ed Velez, president of HBQVB ages 6 through 8 peewee divisions. “They have fun because it is just at their age.”

            “[It is a] great experience for these players to come out and experience what it feels like to play on a major league field,” said Chris Mendoza while watching his 6- to 8-year-old peewee team take batting practice.

            Players had an opportunity to take batting practice before the start of a game and even have their name announced like the pros before stepping up to bat.

            “We want to announce anyway, [and the players] really want their name announced,” said Kamal Khushwani, who was a volunteer announcer.

            “We have a lot of league support, a lot of family support, for this event and the kids are loving it,” said Ken Conyers, Vice President of HBQVB.

            Though the younger players played at the earlier periods of noon to 5 p.m., it was older players, 12 through 18, who had the opportunity to shine under the bright lights of MCU Park after hours.

            “Even in the dark hours of the night every kid who walked up the steps to that stadium [MCU Park] and saw the field [was] still excited as the enthusiasm and excitement for this effort did not stop through the night,” said John Saffian, a Knights of Columbus member based in Connecticut, who coordinated the event. “It’s easy to show up at noon and two and four in the afternoon [for the event], but we had kids showing up at midnight and at two in the morning and four in the morning, [as] parents were on board for the event.”

             As for repeating history once more Saffian said, “We are just waiting for the dust to settle but absolutely the talk is already about what we can put together for the next event.”