George Goger now has a plaque that reads “Great Jiminy Cricket!”
He was feted with the Frank Coppelli Memorial Coach of the Year award for his work with the 10- through 12-year-olds of the Bayside Little League.
The players, coaches and parents packed into Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament School on Saturday morning, September 8 for an awards ceremony to commemorate the end of another season.
While the event itself signified there was a sense of pride in all that the players and teams accomplished, Bayside Little League commissioner Bob Reid said that the main purpose of summer ball was something much more intangible.
“The goal is to create a memory he or she will carry with them throughout their adult life,” he said.
The players, who ranged from five to 13, received awards for team and individual achievements, along with plaques recognizing their participation in the league. According to Reid, 2012 saw 847 children come out to play for 64 teams.
This year’s Home Run Derby champion was 13-year-old Jamie Reagan, who was able to blast three homers in five swings during the competition this summer.
Reagan said it was “really fun” to have won the award and credits his success to practicing with his father.
“We go to Cunningham Park and do batting practice a lot,” Reagan said.
As for “Coach of the Year” Goger, the saying on his plaque is a testament to the season.
“It’s all I ever hear him saying on the field,” Reid quipped.
Before presenting Goger the award, Reid reiterated his stance on Little League being about more than scores and records.
“The Coach of the Year award goes to a coach who has shown that winning isn’t everything,” he said. “They instill in their players that having fun is more important. They’re always there for the players and make sure every player is in the game.”
Also following this theme was the Scholarship Award, which was started by Bayside Little League three years ago. The contest is solely for players about to enter high school and asks them to write an essay about how youth sports has prepared them for the future. After 10 entries had been reviewed by the league’s five-judge panel, the winner of the $1,500 prize was declared Charles Angelo Maisano.
The Christopher Adam Scott Memorial Most Valuable Player Award pays homage to an 11-year-old boy who was killed after being struck by a vehicle on a Clearview Expressway overpass in 2000. This year Christopher Velaoras took home the honor.
Both the 10-and-under and 12-and-under teams were recognized for the tournaments they won over the summer as well. The 10U team racked up championships for the District 26 and Rosenbluth tourneys, while the 12U team won a first place trophy at the Gorman Tournament.
One by one the wall of trophies dwindled as kids ran up to receive them, giving their coaches high-fives and fist pounds as they made their way onto the stage, their family members applauding in the audience.
“I think it went very well considering the weather,” league board member Marty Palermo said as the rain drummed against the windows. “It was a big turnout. Packed. I think all the kids had a lot of fun.”