Edward Nasti had a summer that most 12-year-olds merely dream of. He was the best pitcher on his Weehawken Bambino League team, Walden's Raiders, putting up pitching numbers that would make Ramon Martinez and Greg Maddux blush. Nasti led the Raiders to the league championship, pitched for the Weehawken Bambino 12-year-old All-Stars and made a name for himself throughout Hudson County baseball circles. Oh, yeah. Nasti also did his fair share of hitting as well, earning the top honor as the league's batting champion. So it's safe to say that Nasti - a player whose name fits him on the field, but not off the diamond - would be selected as the league's Most Valuable Player. "There were some other people who had good years," Nasti said. "I couldn't take anything for granted." However, Nasti collected both the Most Valuable Player and batting champion awards at the Weehawken Bambino League annual awards dinner, held recently at the Weehawken Elks on Boulevard East. Some 280 youngsters, ranging in age from five to 15, received some sort of an award, whether it was a trophy, a jacket or a smile for a job well done. The awards dinner was sponsored in conjuction with the Weehawken Recreation Department and the league's booster club, which operated the concession stands throughout the long season. The Elks donated the use of the hall for the entire day, which enabled the department to break the awards dinner up in two segments - for the younger kids (five through nine) during the day and the elder kids (10 through 15) at night. "The awards dinner puts a climax to the season," said Chuck Barone, Weehawken's recreation director. "In the heat of the battle, when the kids are playing their hearts out, it's all about who's going to get a jacket or a trophy. The baseball season is a long one and the kids appreciate the fact that they're recognized for their hard work. Giving a kid a trophy is a really big thing. They're really proud of themselves." In the 12-year-old Nasti's case, he got two - including the big prize of the night, the MVP award. "It meant a lot to me and it capped my season," Nasti said. "We also won the championship of the league, so that made me happy as well. Winning the trophies completes everything the right way." And how important was the award to Nasti? "I put it right in the middle of my room, where I can see it," said Nasti, an eighth-grader who has already been accepted via academic scholarship to St. Peter's Prep in the fall. "I didn't want to accept the award for myself, because my teammates all had a part in it as well. And the coaches who spent so many hours working with us. They really cared about us." Nasti will now leave the Bambino League, which will forever be known as Cal Ripken Baseball from now on beginning this year, and play Babe Ruth Baseball for those 13 through 15. "I think I'm ready for it," Nasti said. "I know it's going to be a challenge and it's going to be harder, but if I keep practicing, I'll be ready. I want to be the best player I can be as I keep moving up." Tryouts soon Barone is really pleased and proud with the way the game of baseball has evolved in Weehawken. "Over the years, the league has flourished," Barone said. "We're starting to get recognition and we're competitive in All-Star tournaments. Things are really going well for us." And there's no room for the weary. Because as the weather warms, it only means one thing - another season is right around the corner. Tryouts for the 2000 Weehawken Baseball Leagues, for Minor League, Cal Ripken and Babe Ruth, will begin next Saturday. The tryouts will be held March 11 and 18 for the Cal Ripken players (10 through 12) and on March 12 and March 19 for the Babe Ruth performers (13 to 15). The tryouts will more than likely be held in the high school gym, but notices will go out later this week.