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Bayside Little League’s day of… Registration & recognition

A rite of baseball took place in Bayside recently, which at its heart is more important to the future of the National Pastime than the World Series itself.
On Saturday, September 8, the Bayside Little League registered young players for the 2008 season and presented this season’s awards to one coach and a lot of players at Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament school in Bayside.
“We give out a lot of awards, because the kids play hard and they deserve to feel good about it,” said Bob Reid, who heads the league in Bayside. Indeed, last year’s crop of 907 young players received a total of over 450 honors.
Here, where the trophies are meant to recognize sportsmanship as much as excellence in the sport, their most resplendent prize, the Richard Rollins Sportsperson of the Year Award is for being not only a fine ballplayer but building great rapport with opposing players.
It was given to 12-year-old Christopher Wren of Bayside, who attends Sacred Heart School.
Rollins, who coached two generations of little leaguers, was known to call a time-out during a game, to instruct a player on the opposing team if he saw something that needed correcting.
“The winning aspect is secondary,” Reid continued. “That’s why we always let tie scores stand.”
That spirit was summed up by one coach who insisted that, “Individual accomplishments far outweigh the outcome of any game.” That is why they give the Frank Copelli Memorial Coach of the Year Award, named after the author of the statement, to the adult who best instills that “having fun while trying your hardest and doing the best you can do, is what really counts,” Reid said.
This year’s recipient was Dennis Ricotta, who has three sons in the league and coaches all of their teams.
The other significant player award is for the Most Valuable Player in the “minor league” All-Star Game, which is usually held on the second or third Saturday in June.
The Christopher Adam Scott Award is named after the Bayside child who was run-down and killed on August 18, 2000, while crossing the Clearview Expressway service road at 46th Avenue, just blocks from his home. Two years later, a pedestrian crossing at the site was named after him.
His love of baseball and excitement at being selected as an All-Star inspired the award, which was given this year to Daniel Reisert, 11, of Whitestone, who attends J.H.S. 194. “He’s so excited, he can’t stop talking about it,” Reid said.
The notion of good sportsmanship extends beyond borders for the group, which sponsored a team from Buff Bay, from the island of Jamaica, not the neighborhood in Queens. This is the third year the Bayside group has sponsored a foreign team, with the assistance of nearby North Shore Baptist Church, under the direction of Pastor Ed Moore.
During the slide show about the Jamaican team and their games against the local kids, Reid sounded as happy as at any time during the ceremony, when he related how the visitors won a couple of games. People warmly applauded.

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