It was fitting, several people suggested last Thursday night at Wright’s Farm in Harrisville, that the Johnston Little League held its annual awards banquet inside Rhode Island’s all-time famous family restaurant.
While the famed banquet facility is known for its fine food and super service, the JLL is steeped with as much history when it comes to ranking as one of this state’s top youth baseball programs.
For example, the JLL’s Senior League All-Star squad captured the district and state championships and advanced to the prestigious Eastern Regional Tournament in New Jersey.
Likewise, the JLL honored Bob Giudici during a surprise ceremony at the outset of last Thursday’s well-attended event.
For nearly two decades, as JLL President Ed Bedrosian emphasized, “Bob Giudici has been a manager, coach and mentor in our league; this is a special presentation to a great coach and personally one of my best friends.”
Needless to say, the always soft-spoken Giudici – who was accompanied by his wife – was indeed surprised with Bedrosian’s announcement that sent the sound of applause and cheers echoing through the spacious banquet room.
“Bob has been a coach in our league for the past 18 years,” Bedrosian went on. “He has been a role model for hundreds upon hundreds of kids throughout the years. I personally had the pleasure to coach with him on seven tournament teams and wouldn’t want anyone else on the field with me other than Bob.”
Bedrosian then announced that Giudici is retiring from his manager’s position then mused: “We will miss him from his kneeling down in front of umps and begging to change to the famous pitch he throws in the batting cage that until this day no one has ever hit. Bob, thanks for everything you did and continue to do for the Johnston Little League. We all love you, Mr. Bob Giudici.”
Giudici, in fact, managed the Cardinals to the JLL’s Friendship Tournament title in his final season at famed Kennedy Field.
“Thank you,” Bedrosian reiterated after joining Vice President John Simao to present the special Service to Youth Award to Giudici. “Enjoy the rest of your night!”
The nearly 400 people who attended the JLL’s annual awards affair did just that while offering rave reviews about the famous chicken dinner at Wright’s Farm, as well as the quick wit and excellent job Doug Jeffrey – a former league coach and manager – did in his on-going capacity as the night’s Master of Ceremonies.
Jeffrey, in fact, moved the awards program along in fine fashion and made the entire evening special for John Small’s Minor League champion Cubs, Mike Perez’s Town Champion A’s, and the Senior League All-Stars of Manager Gary Rianni.
The night also featured a special appearance and brief remarks from Mayor Joseph Polisena, who thanks the parents for their dedication to youth baseball, the JLL in particular and the players.
Bedrosian, meanwhile, also had some special “Thank You” words for long-time Orioles Manager Robert Civetti for coordinating the highly-successful state tournament that the JLL hosted; to Mike Perez for overseeing the successful Car Show that raised revenue for the league; and John Simao for “being a great friend and for everything you do for overlooking everything we do in this league.”