Dozens of parents, family members and friends gathered at the Wood Street baseball field on Wednesday evening to congratulate and cheer on the Coventry American Little League 11/12 All Stars for capturing the state championship and advancing to the 2012 Little League Baseball East Region Tournament in Bristol, CT August 3-9.
Several local dignitaries also joined the boisterous crowd to honor the team that . Senator Glen Shibley, Town Council President Gary Cote and Vice President Kerry McGee commended the team for their achievement and wished them luck in Connecticut as they not only represent Coventry, but all of Rhode Island as well.
"These are the champs," said Shibley. "The whole town is proud - in fact that whole state is proud. Congratulations to all of the players and their parents. Let's bring home the national championship in Williamsport (PA)!"
Representative Lisa Tomasso awarded the players, managers and coaches with proclamations on behalf of the RI General Assembly recognizing their progress and expressed her pride in how the entire team stands as role models for other athletes.
Parks & Recreation Director Guy Lefebvre congratulated the team and presented the players with a Coventry flag and a Rhode Island state flag to take with them on their journey to the East Region Tournament.
"What you're building here right now are memories that you guys will carry with you for the rest of your lives," said Lefebvre. "Believe me, you won't forget a minute of this experience. Congratulations to all."
Before the players and their guests dispersed from the field to enjoy the celebratory send-off cookout of hot dogs, hamburgers, soda and watermelon, Coventry Little League Co-Presidents Paul Fernandes and Mike Madonna presented the players and coaches with championship pins and personalized hats to commemorate their achievement.
"I'd like to thank the team, our state representatives, the town council, the parents, the family, all of the support that's been given to Coventry Little League," said Fernandes. "Let's give one more round of applause for our Coventry Americans! Thank you all again."
The schedule for the 2012 Little League East Region- New England Championship at Leon Breen Field in Bristol, CT is as follows:
- Connecticut vs. Rhode Island- Fri., August 3, 8:15 p.m.
- Rhode Island vs. Maine- Sunday, August 5, 11:00 a.m.
- New Hampshire vs. Rhode Island- Monday, August 6, 2:00 p.m.
- Rhode Island vs. Vermont (NESN)- Tues., August 7, 10:00 a.m.
The four teams with the best records in pool play will compete in the semifinals on Thursday, August 9, at 10:00 a.m. or 1:00 p.m. Semifinals winners then play for the New England championship on Sat., August 11 at 6:00 p.m. on ESPN. The champion will represent New England at the Little League World Series in Williamsport, PA.