Nuzzi Field was transformed into Legends Park recently as the New Hyde Park Little League paid tribute its star ballplayers,. The league also rolled out a red carpet to honor heroic war veterans, NYPD Detective Kevin Brennan of Garden City Park who was critically injured in the line of duty, and All-American softball pitcher Olivia Galati of Hofstra University.
As the 6th Annual NHPLL All-Star Saturday unfolded, fans were treated to four great games as the youngsters played their hearts out at the majestic Nuzzi Field The pageantry began with former NHPLL President Bob Hodgsen tossing the Ceremonial first pitch before the Girls Minors contest. As the tight game drew to a close, fans got to enjoy the sight of the young ladies dancing to the music between innings with the numerous mascot costumes courtesy of Ruby’s Costumes. Sakowich Plumbing, The Inn At New Hyde Park, Sportloft, Umbertos of NHP, and All Island Transportation contributed to a terrific All-Star event.
The Boys Minors game was played before a packed house. The NHP community came out to say “thank you” to our heroic veterans. One of the themes to this year’s program was the service of MLB greats, and in particular, Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Feller who was among the most highly decorated serviceman in the US Navy during WW II. The goal of event , said organizers, was to pay tribute to “our own Bob Fellers” and show the young children how much they appreciate the efforts of this entire generation of iron men who gave their all.
The league then recognized its own combat vets, such as: Commander Smolenski VFW 8031 who called the color guard; Bob Christman, an infantryman in Korea; combat veterans like Mario Obeatis and Bill Hothan who were in Germany, and Benny Messina who invaded the Philippines with General MacArthur; Mario DeCute whose destroyer sank an enemy sub in a major American victory and, finally, tossing out the ceremonial first pitch was Stan Sichel who was a B-29 pilot who flew 18 combat missions over Japan. T
Before the feature Boys Majors Game, NHPLL introduced its 2012 Hall of Fame class which was established a few years ago to honor the memory of those special people who have given their all to this community.
This year’s inductees were longtime sponsors Sakowich Plumbing, The Inn at New Hyde Park, Vice President of Baseball Operations a Vinnie Grunert, and the very first NY State Girls Championship Team – the 2008 Girls Seniors.
Brennan threw out the ceremonial first pitch. On the night of Jan. 31 Brennan was one of three plain-clothed officers responding to shots fired in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn. He chased one of the three men they saw running into an apartment building where Brennan was critically injured after being shot in the head.
Fans were told it is because of the courageous actions of Brennan and so many like him that the community gathered to say “thank you” to the most decent of men. Brennan, the league said, represents many in this town who have sworn an oath to protect us day and night without consequence and NHP/GCP will never waver in their support.
The 4th and final game was played by the Girls Majors Division many of whom were part of the celebrated run to the Eastern Regional Championship a few years back.
The ladies welcomed Hofstra University superstar and NCAA All-American pitcher Olivia Galati. For the past two months, the Hofstra University Softball Team has enjoyed a magical journey which captivated the hearts of’ softball players throughout the state and especially here on Long Island. Hofstra made it all the way to the Super-Regionals. The finished the season as the number 16 ranked team in the country.
Hofstra was led by Galati, a gutsy pitcher that her coach now calls “Secretariat.” She is a relentless competitor born and bred on Long Island. In her career she one who amassed 378 strikeouts in just 280 innings and she emerged as one of the best collegiate pitchers in the country with a 0.95 ERA.