East Hills holds annual softball tournament

East Hills holds annual softball tournament

Twelve years ago, East Hills residents Stewart Faden and Peter Wagner wanted to create a village softball tournament. 

Though East Hills residents had gathered for years at Harbor Hill Elementary School for a weekly Sunday morning softball game, Faden and Wagner devised a single-elimination tournament that would decide the best players, young and old, in all of the village.

After two rounds of play, the two teams left standing would play for the Mayor’s Trophy, named as a tribute to East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz as well as the annual match-up of the Mets and Yankees that predated interleague play in Major League Baseball. 

They’ve been playing ball in late September ever since.

“It gets really competitive in a very short period of time,” Wagner said. “Guys are really playing to win. The games are usually not very lopsided.”

This year’s Mayor’s Trophy was won by a team led by resident and pitcher Gary Cohen, and his two sons, Devin and Brett.

By the second inning of Sunday’s championship game, Cohen’s team had fallen behind by eight runs, but chipped away at the deficit in the next few frames and took a one-run lead in the sixth. 

In its last at-bat, Elkowitz’ team put the tying run on base, but Cohen closed the door on any hope of a comeback. 

Nearly 100 players participate each year, Wagner said, with players being evaluated and drafted onto teams at Village Hall. Some teams, he said, even practice in advance of the tournament.

The tournament first began play at Harbor Hill Elementary School and later moved to East Hills Park after it opened in 2006. 

“It’s a great community event because it’s one of those things that makes the community really feel like a small town, and not the way East Hills or Roslyn may be known outside of here,” Faden said.

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