Local and state officials gather to cement first Girls Softball Little League World Series run in village history
The magic carpet ride for the New Hyde Park Little League Girls Majors softball team, who competed in the Little League Softball World Series in Portland, OR, last month, continued on Saturday, Sept. 15. Political dignitaries from the village up through the state level honored the 11- and 12-year-old girls and their coaches at a recognition ceremony held on the lawn of the New Hyde Park Village Hall.
“On behalf of the entire village family, I can’t tell you how proud we are of your accomplishments,” said New Hyde Park Mayor Daniel P. Petruccio. “It’s an amazing journey that you’ve been on, and we’ve shared that journey with you. … You have made us proud as a community. … Forever the Village of New Hyde Park will recognize… your accomplishments. You’ll come back someday with your children to this village hall and you’ll point to the plaque and say that was my team, those were my friends, and we did this.”
The NHPLL Girls Majors was the first team from Long Island to compete in the Little League World Series since 1993 and the first team in New Hyde Park history to compete, noted New Hyde Park Trustee Richard A. Coppola, Jr., who was the master of ceremonies. Coppola attributed the team’s success to the girls’ work ethics, the coaching abilities exhibited by Tom Donnelly, Tom Fitzpatrick and Tom Grimshaw, and the support of all parents. The team won the District 29, Section 5, New York State and Eastern Regional Championship, securing their spot in the Little League Softball World Series. The team competed in pool play in Portland and finished with two wins and two losses, then won a consolation game to clinch fifth place.
“We all have people we like to look up to and people who help us to aspire to do better things, and usually those people are older than us,” said Rev. Jimmy Coffey of Trinity Lutheran Church. “But today … we are reminded that we can look up to you. We are reminded that with hard work and integrity and a can-do spirit, you can accomplish great things. … You’ve represented this community so well.”
New York State Assemblyman Edward Ra echoed Rev. Coffey, recognizing the girls’ “success on the field but [also] the way you conducted yourselves and represented our community.” Ra presented the team with a citation and a New York State flag.
Nassau County Clerk Maureen O’Connell presented each girl with a proclamation. “You will forever be an integral part of the fabric of this community. Ten, 20, 50, 100 years from now, you are going to hold a very important place in the history of this village,” she said.
Also present at the ceremony was Town of North Hempstead Councilwoman Lee Seeman and Town of North Hempstead Clerk Leslie Gross. “This may be called a Little League team, but you really have done a major league accomplishment. … As our county clerk said so aptly, you will be part of history and you will have made an accomplishment that other young women and other young men will look up to and you will be forever remembered in the history of the village and of the town,” said Gross.
Garden City Mayor Donald Brudie, South Floral Park Mayor Geoffrey Prime and Floral Park Mayor Thomas Tweedy attended the ceremony, as well.
Not only did the team represent the community well, but it also made the entire Eastern Region proud. Sharing a conversation he had in Portland with a Little League official, Coach Donnelly shared the official’s sentiments: “We’ve never had a group from the East that was so well-represented.”
The 2012 roster included Maggie Donnelly, Annie Grimshaw, Kayla Fitzpatrick, Melissa Ward, Jenny Hickey, Gabby Morales, Sophia Jacoby, Emma Nidermaier, Katie Tubridy, Hannah Arkin and Nicole Kuzler.