“BATTER UP” AT BASIE FIELDS

batter-up-2010-cA challenger in last year’s Batter Up home run derby. (Photo courtesy of Laurie Barrett Dalton; click to enlarge)

By DUSTIN RACIOPPI

There are two reasons baseballs will be flying all over Count Basie Field this Saturday.

One, the Red Bank Elks Lodge 233, which already has a successful basketball free-throw competition for borough children in the winter, wants to expand its offerings. Two, Kevin Blaine has an itch.

“I’m a grandfather now,” said Blaine, a lifelong Red Bank resident and Elks member. “I’ve got this free time and I’ve still got this itch to go out and do things with kids in the community.”

Hence, the Elks’ “Batter Up” contest, a home run derby this Saturday open to kids between 5 and 15 years old.

“We’re trying to do something else that we’ve had success in with basketball,” Blaine said. “It’s one of those things we try to do that’s fun for the kids in the community.”

Little Bambinos wanting to test their batting skills will get 10 chances at the plate to notch as many home runs as they can. There’s no fence at Basie fields, so distances will be measured the old-fashioned way: with a tape measure.

The free event will have first-, second- and third-place winners in three different age groups for boys and girls.

“A kid walking around with a trophy, they feel a lot better,” Blaine said. “And it’s actually fun for parents and spectators.”

The derby will be held at Basie’s No. 3 field. Schedule is as follows:

Registration for age groups 5,6 and 7; 8 and9; and 10 and 11 from 10 to 10:30 a.m., with the derby starting at about 10:45.

Registration for age groups 12 and 13 and 14 from 11 to 11:30 a.m., with the derby starting around 11:45.