Baseball clinic at McCarren Park honors legacy of late, beloved player

The event was set up to remember Ronnie Ortiz Jr.

News 12 Staff

Aug 20, 2023, 10:54 PM

Updated 329 days ago


Several children were at McCarren Park Sunday to play some ball while learning the legacy a beloved player left behind.
The children were eager and excited to learn how to play baseball just as eager and excited as Ronnie Ortiz Jr. was whenever he stepped up to play with his league.
The children learned at a special clinic that was set up to remember the legacy Ortiz Jr. left behind.
"He was young, energetic, good-looking kid and could play the game, and was always a great team member," said Holland Cowger, of the organization The Pursuit for Ronnie Ortiz Jr. and set up this clinic.
Cowger was friends with Ortiz Jr. and shared the passion of playing baseball at McCarren Park.
"Him gone is like a piece of us that's missing. He was just always here, he was part of this whole field, this whole community," Cowger said.
Investigators say Ortiz Jr. was fatally shot and killed on Sept. 14 in East New York, where they arrested a suspect connected to the shooting. No motive was revealed as to why, which is a pain his parents continue to feel.
"We had to learn the hard way how much people loved him and respected him," said his father Ronnie Ortiz Sr.
"We want to everything we can for the kids. My son would be happy about this," said his mother Carmen Mendoza .
A memorial was created in Ortiz Jr.'s memory. It's right next to the baseball field where he always played. Now the community is doing something else to remember his legacy -- they're looking to rename the field after him.
Brooklyn Council Member Lincoln Restler is on board.
"I'm strongly supportive of the effort. I hope we can get the Parks Department on board. These things always take a little bit of time," Restler said.
There is an online petition pushing that effort with over 2,000 signatures.
The organization hopes to make this children's baseball and softball clinic an annual event.

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