Bicentennial Veterans Memorial Park was full of cheer and excitement as over 100 players gathered to celebrate the 33rd Annual Closing Day for the Throggs Neck Girls Softball League.
Despite the season’s rocky beginning when vandals destroyed the field, the girls celebrated the end of a triumphant season by inviting sponsors, coaches, elected officials, local residents and families of the players to participate in contests and games throughout the day.
The party kicked off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, September 12. Each team, including the sponsors, players, coaches and managers, were announced and awarded trophies and plaques.
A special thanks was given to Pat Devine, James McQuade, John Cerini, Ron David of Fusion Fitness, Alexandra Mazza, Councilman Jimmy Vacca, Assemblyman Michael Benedetto, and Senator Jeff Klein.
Guests participated in hitting, throwing, and running competitions, dove through the blow up slip-and-slide and slid down a giant slide. Others enjoyed the music and snacked on the free food and refreshments.
Juliana Orrico, a star pitcher in the TNGSL, received a trophy and lent a helping hand.
“This season was pretty good, our team made it to the championship,” said Orrico, 12, who will continue playing and pitching in the off-season. “Closing day was fun and there was a lot of stuff to do and I think everyone had a good time.”
As if a successful season wasn’t enough to celebrate, members of the league also acknowledged their joy over the installation of a new security camera, sponsored by Klein, which seems to have hindered the vandalism. The camera issues a warning to persons passing it after dark that their photo is being taken.
“There hasn’t been one incident since the camera went up. When you walk by it, it yells at you,” said Rachel Mazza, president of the TNGSL. “I watch people when they pass by and they start running.”
But the season never really ends for Mazza, who will continue to hold meetings and fight to bring back the TNGSL parade for opening day next year.
The top teams for the season are Fine Fare Supermarket for the senior division and PJ Brady’s Family Restaurant in the junior division. The 14 & under travel team, sponsored by Vacca, won 9 of 15 games, a big jump from last year’s record. The 12 & under travel team, sponsored by Benedetto, also had an amazing season, winning 6 of 14 games in their first year.
“I am very proud of the league and especially the team I sponsored for another great season,” said Vacca. “My office congratulates the league for not only the great work they do with the girls but the hard work so many of the adults have done in maintaining the field and keeping alive a great neighborhood tradition.”