There is a 0.0296% chance that a Little Leaguer will make it to the Majors according to MLB, but that doesn’t stop 3 million kids from turning off their PS4s and Xboxes to give it a go on the ball field each spring. Even the odds of playing Division 1 College baseball are less than 0.5% for a little league player, yet fate brought together two former Jersey City Little Leaguers to face each other on a cold, rainy Tuesday afternoon in New Hampshire on April 4.
In the top of the third inning, left-handed pitcher Luke Carpenter, representing Dartmouth, stared down at the first batter coming up next, second baseman Roddy Hernandez, playing for U. Mass Lowell.
No one could have imagined this face-off 13 years earlier as they faced each other with Luke playing for the Lugnutz and Roddy suited up for the Bandits in the Jersey City Heights Minor League (U10) Championship. The Bandits won the title in 2010, and Roddy’s U. Mass River Hawks would win the day over Luke and Dartmouth’s Big Green this April as well, 6–1.
However, Luke won the one-on-one battle getting Roddy to ground out to shortstop on the first pitch. Luke would only pitch one inning, giving up a hit with one K and no runs, while Roddy would go 0 for 3 at the plate while making a couple of stellar defensive plays.
Back in 2010, both Luke and Roddy were part of the first cohort of kids to play at the newly renovated Washington Park Little League field on the border of Jersey City and Union City between Central Avenue and Patterson Plank Road.
Last summer, both Luke and Roddy played in the New England Collegiate Baseball League (NECBL), where elite college athletes play during their summer breaks as a way to attract attention from Major League Baseball scouts. Luke pitched for the Vermont Mountaineers based in Montpelier, VT, and Roddy played for the Winnipesaukee Muskrats near Laconia, NH. While the teams faced each other six times, Luke and Roddy never had a chance to relive their Washington Park rivalry. Until this week.
Back in Jersey City, there’s still time for kids to purse their Little League field of dreams. Learn more here.