Tag Archives: Newtown Connecticut

Bayside Little League makes semifinal

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Jerry Costa


The Bayside Little League junior team, ages 13-14, which dedicated its season to Newtown victims advanced to the semifinal round of the New York Section 5 tournament, but lost to eventual champion Franklin Square Little League on July 18.

Bayside, the District 26 champion, won its first two games before losing two. The first loss came from Oceanside Little League and then to Franklin Square, 17-14.

“We let them know how proud we were and how proud their parents were,” manager Jerry Costa said. “Everyone dug in.”

The lost ended their season, which was highlighted by a 20-game undefeated regular season which was dedicated to the victims of the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. During that time the team wore patches and made chants throughout the season to honor the Newtown children.

“Of all the teams I’ve managed, this team had the most heart,” Costa said. “Plenty of times we kept losing, but kept coming back.”

Costa praised two pitchers, Anthony Costa and Stephen Castro, for performing well in the sectional tournament.

“He played so hard,” Costa said about Anthony, whose team nickname is “Ace.” He pitched the whole game in a 4-2 victory against Westside Little League, Bayside’s first win in the tournament.

Now the junior team will play in other tournaments against other teams, Costa said.



Sunnyside fundraiser to raise money for family of Sandy Hook victim

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

File photo

Two months after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the heart of a neighborhood remains with the family of a little boy who perished in the gunfire.

A Sunnyside group is planning a fundraiser for the bereaved family of six-year-old Benjamin Wheeler, who spent his earliest days in Sunnyside, romping through nearby parks and riding the No. 7 train. Ben’s parents, Francine and David, lived in Sunnyside until Ben was seven months old, when they moved with Ben and his older brother Nate to Newtown, Connecticut. Francine was one of the founding members of Sunnymoms, a collective of local parents who share recipes, baby sitter recommendations and parenting tips. Now, along with friends from the neighborhood, Sunnymoms is organizing an event to honor Ben’s memory and raise money for the Wheeler family.

“It didn’t take long to realize there was more we could do for that family,” said family friend Roger Hitts, who is coordinating the event.

The same group held a vigil for Ben and Sandy Hook Principal Dawn Hochsprung in December at Sunnyside Gardens Park, a favorite spot of Francine’s when she lived in the neighborhood.

“[The Wheelers] were so loved in this community,” said Hitts, whose daughter was a playmate of Nate and Ben. “They were such a real wonderful family who was dealt the worst hand they could think of.”

The Saturday, February 23 event, held at the Sunnyside Community Services Center, invites local families for an afternoon of face painting, balloon sculptures and snacks. Musicians will perform songs by The Beatles, Ben’s favorite band.

Hitts said the event is to remain family-oriented, adding that “there’s not going to be people making speeches on gun control.”

If you would like to make a donation, contributions can be sent to:

The Ben Wheeler Fund
c/o Newtown Savings Band
39 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470

Donations can also be made through PayPal, via the email address benwheelerfun@yahoo.com.