The weather is warming, and you can’t drive past a park on a weekend without seeing kids playing ball…it’s a beautiful sight. That means Little League seasons are under way and we can finally announce our winners of the “Little Kids, Big Stars” program. Here’s a look at some of the best and brightest youth baseball and softball players from around the area:
- Alexandra Campanella -- St. Anselm’s Softball -- In her first game of the season, she went 3-for-3 with three stolen bases and got the save in her team’s 5-3 win. Alexandra isn’t just star on the field, she has also performed in numerous theatrical performances and dominates in the classroom as well.
- Samantha Grillo -- Island Park Little League -- When the expected starting pitcher was unable to take the mound due to the flu, Samantha stepped in to make an emergency start. She never complained, she just took the mound and battled in a way that would make Nolan Ryan proud.
- James Mangan -- St. Virgilius / St. Camillus CYO -- James lives for the game of baseball. He eats baseball, sleeps baseball, and if you could liquefy the game…heck, he’d even drink it. This winter, and the snow piled up over his head, didn’t keep James from training with his dad (having a catch, or taking some cuts in the batting cages) and getting ready for Opening Day when the umpire would say those sweet, sweet words “Play Ball.” All his hard work paid off with a performance that would leave even David Wright jealous. The 10-year-old went 4-for-4 with three doubles, a home run and seven RBI…oh yeah, and he tossed 6.0 shutout innings on the mound.
- Isabele Lieber -- 78th Precinct YC -- This young lady excels not only as a player on her 11 & 12 year old team, but she also volunteers her time as an assistant coach for the 8-10 year old team. She serves as a terrific example of dedication and selflessness to her teammates and to everyone who plays and loves the game of softball.
- Owen Au -- Holy Name PONY -- As an eight-year-old, Owen is new to the game, but has already shown that he has the talent and passion necessary to succeed on the diamond. He is an absolute pleasure to coach, a great teammate, and it doesn’t hurt that he went a perfect 2-for-2 with 2.0 shutout innings on the mound as well.
- Ethan Buckley -- Brooklyn Baseball Association -- 11-year-old Ethan is a star between the foul lines, but what truly makes him a BIG STAR is his efforts away from the baseball diamond. Ethan performs in his church choir - including several nerve-racking solos during Easter Mass - and takes the lessons that he's learned on the ball field with him in other areas of his life. He credits his coaches for helping him learn to be confident, and go 100% at everything you do in life. Now THAT'S a message we can get behind!
- Giovani Loicano -- Prospect Park Baseball -- Nine-year-old Giovanni went 2-for-2 with a pair of home run runs and three RBI. But if that's not enough, he also made three "web-gem worthy" defensive plays and tossed a shutout inning of relief. Talk abou the total package...that's Giovani!
Congrats to all of the winners. We will be in contact with your coaches to give further instructions to claim your prize. Thanks to everyone who entered and keep nominating the best and brightest on your team by CLICKING HERE.