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Yorktown Students Take a Swing at History

YORKTOWN, N.Y. - It wasn't quite Field of Dreams, but seventh graders at Mildred Strang Middle School in Yorktown built their own memories by reliving a part of history in their own backyard.

Throughout the day Wednesday, approximately 100 students in teacher Christopher Dipasquale's classes donned bonnets and kepis as part of their two-and-a-half week lesson on the Civil War to play baseball the way it was in the 19th century.

"After the war it became a unifying thing in America," said Dipasquale, who was also dressed for the part. "People go all over the place to get this experience and we get to do it here in a public school. It's a way kids can be kids and have fun and still learn."

The baseball rules during the Civil War era differed a bit from the way the National Pastime is played today -the winning team was the first to reach 21, anything hit could be caught off a bounce, pitchers threw underhandĀ and no mitts were used.

"The batter also tells the pitcher where he wants the ball to be thrown," Dipasquale said. "It was a gentlemen's game. It was a lot different than it is today. The games were all played on old farm fields behind factories."

It's the sixth year the Civil War Living History program has been offered at Strang and Dipasquale said its popularity has grown immensely.

"It's really a way of teaching the curriculum and bringing those people to life," Dipasquale said. "It invests them in the actual subjects. It puts everything they have learned in a physical activity. This is kind of our final hurrah for the year."

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