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CWLL: Home of the 1996 US Champions, 3x New England Champions

CWLL: Home of the 1996 US Champions, 3x New England Champions

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CRANSTON WESTERN LITTLE LEAGUE

HALL OF FAME RECIPIENTS


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Michael P. Varrato


Mike's legacy in CWLL is second to none. He began coaching Elmwood Sports in the Major League Division when his son was playing and he never left. In 1996, he led the league's 12 year old All-Star team to the LLWS and won the United States Championship before losing to Taiwan. Mike gave up coaching Elmwood when he was elected CWLL President in 2004 and is still recognized as the longest serving President in League History! It was under his guidance as President that CWLL became one of the premier Little Leagues in Rhode Island, as he spearheaded the series of upgrades at the Chafee Complex. In 2008, what was formerly known as Briggs 1 was renamed Michael P Varrato Field, which now, in Mike's vision, contains stadium style seating and a state of the art press box. He was instrumental in our league being awarded to host the 9-10 Eastern Region Tournament, in 2010 and is still being hosted by CWLL. Even as Mike slowed down due to illness, you would always see him at the complexes providing guidance and wisdom to others. Mike passed away on June, 25, 2014, but his legacy lives on with those still involved in CWLL who look to continue his vision for Little League Baseball. A monument stands proudly at the entrance of Varrato Field that tells the story of a man dedicated to a program he loved so much!


Dennis DeJesus


Dennis' love for CWLL stretches far beyond the diamond. While serving as President for one year in 2003, Dennis touched a countless number of young kids' lives during his years coaching his son. He also served as an assistant coach on two State Championship All-Star teams in 2007 and 2008. Dennis also served on the Board of Directors as the Ways and Means Coordinator, helping raise thousands of dollars for our league. One of his greatest achievements in CWLL came as the Inaugural Director of the 9-10 Eastern Region Tournament. His countless hours of hard work getting this tournament off the ground has not only been a important fundraiser for our league since its inception in 2010, but it also given hundreds of young players along the East Coast to showcase their skills and has been a feeder system for teams to go on to Williamsport. Dennis decided to retire as an assistant coach on Gershkoff Auto Body but you can still hear his voice from time to time as a special guest announcer during tournament play and as Master of Ceremonies at Opening Day Ceremonies.


Gary Bucci


While Gary has won numerous league championships as the coach of Gershkoff Auto Body, his proudest moments have come during his time as the manager of the 11-12 Year Old All-Star Team. He has won state championships as Manager in 2005, 2008, and 2015. In 2015, he won the New England Championship, earning he and his team a trip to the LLWS, a first for CWLL since 1996. Gary is known for getting the most out of every player he coaches, and he enjoys watching the progression of his players throughout the season. Though he may be tough, his players respect and love playing for Coach Bucci. After the 2021 season, Gary made the difficult decision to resign as Vice President of the program and Manager of Gershkoff Auto Body. In addition he felt it was a good time to pass the torch of managing the 11-12 All Star team and give his energy to his Cranston East High School Varsity Baseball Program along with spending more time with his family.


Stephen Mancini


Steve was a "jack of all trades" during his time at CWLL. He served on the Board of Directors in a variety of positions, including Ways and Means Coordinator, Registrar, Umpire Coordinator, and whatever else needed to be done. He also played an integral role in the first few years of the 9-10 Eastern Region Tournament. Even after his year's of dedicated service to the program, Steven was always only a phone call away to help the program in various ways. To this day, you could Steve attending an All Star Game, special event along with his son Richard, who also funds the time to give back to the program when he can.


Richard D. Santamaria

Richard was involved with CWLL for over 50 years, most notably during his tenure as league President. A field at the John Chafee Complex was named after him in honor of his dedication and support of Cranston Western Little League. He currently is the third longest serving President for CWLL! Including his work with the league, Richard was a vital volunteer for the District One Baseball Staff, serving in whatever role he was given. During tournament time in his retirement, you could count seeing Dick fence side taking in the game. Even as he started to experience health concerns, Dick would garner the energy needed to attend a game or a ceremony with his last being the 2015 New England Championship Teams night at Garden City.

Joseph Corso

Joe has been a long time Board Member, Coach, Mentor and longtime coordinator of the CWLL Challenger's Division, which continues to be one of the few remaining Challengers programs in the state. His program was recognized last season spending the day on the field at Fenway Park, a day in which the kids will never forget. One played was quoted telling Joe "Coach, this is the best day of my life". He is truly humbled to see current and former players volunteer when the Challengers are playing. 
During the regular season, playoffs, all stars or any tournament, you can always find Joe lending a hand at the grill or on the field. His heart and dedication has never gone unnoticed by his CWLL peers.

Nicholas A. Mattiello

House Speaker Mattiello has been a longtime supporter of CWLL serving as a coach to his two sons Nick and Tony. He along with his wife MaryAnn, were proud parents watching their sons win the RI State Little League Championship and advancing to Bristol,CT for Regionals. In 2006, Nick was elected to the House District 15 escalating to Speaker of the House since 2014. The speaker has not forgotten not forgotten his roots, securing legislative funds for the program with along with his own personal support. Each season the Speaker returns for Opening Day Ceremonies to see many facility upgrades and safety provisions for the players. He is humbled knowing his support of CWLL has made many memories possible for the players and families for years to come.

James A. Procaccianti 

Referred to as "Proc"  from his CWLL family, James has a been a longtime member of CWLL family. HIs longtime love for the game dates back to his years playing along with watching his son Jake playing a prominent role on many CWLL All Star teams. When a plan was finalized to turn Varrato field into what it is today, Proc was the first to pledge his unwavering support, vision and guidance to help get the project off the ground. Long after his son's playing career Proc has always remained a close phone call away for the Eastern Regional Tournament, offering prize packages and any other support that he can for the league. 

Al Sparling

Al has been a long time fixture in the league for over thirty years wearing many hats as a Coach, Manager, Board Member and Equipment Manager. That is only the tip of the iceberg when explaining how valuable Al has been maintaining CWLL facilities while playing a lead role in the numerous projects that the league has completed. Whether it be the erection of field scoreboards, supervising the construction of the current concession stand or giving out the uniforms and baseballs to all the teams, you knew the completion of the tasks was in good hands. To this day, if a project is being planned or in progress, Al will still play a valuable role to make sure everything is done perfectly. The league is grateful for his continued efforts!

Sandy Varrato 

Sandy is the loving wife of the late Michael P. Varrato. Always standing by Mike's side during his many year's of service to CWLL, Sandy spearheaded the development of the concession stand at Sherman Avenue. Her variety of items and the care and time put into making them was her passion. She was personally responsible for raising thousands of dollars each season for the program and was always seen by all behind the counter of her stand. This was not done only during the regular season but included All Stars, Fall Ball and the traveling Fall Program called the Rhody League developed by Mike. For her many years of service, the concession stand at Michael P. Varrato Field was dedicated to her and has continued the tradition that she worked so hard to establish.

Larry Lepore

Larry is another example of a man who has given so many years of volunteering for CWLL as a father, coach and Manager along with being a member of the Board of Directors. What Larry is best known for was his coaching success which includes being the Assistant Coach on the 1996 United States Championship Team and the 2015 New England Regional Champion as well. It is no secret that Larry played a vital role in the development of these teams and is well respected near and far for his efforts. In retirement Larry and his loving wife Denise, another longtime volunteer in her own right, continue to be cornerstone volunteers traveling each August from their Florida home to serve as Baseball and Concession Coordinators for the annual 8-10 Eastern Region Invitational that is sponsored through Little League Baseball by CWLL and brings in 12 States from Maine to Pennsylvania.

Steve Gershkoff

Steve is one of the few original sponsors of CWLL that continues to this day! His teams over the years have enjoyed many successful seasons and have produced many players that have gone on to have success at the High School and College levels. Whenever the league has called upon Steve for his support, he has never wavered always willing to give of his time or resources that make him a special person. His successful Gershkoff Auto Body business has been a cornerstone commercial business in Cranston that has assisted thousands of families who experienced unfortunate vehicle fender benders. This includes many past and current CWLL families. In addition to Little League, Steve has also sponsored the Cranston local Legion Baseball Program, which has enjoyed many successful Summer seasons of their own.

Aram G. Garebedian  

Aram has been a long time supporter of youth sports including CWLL. he has always been generous with his time and resources for many year's along with being a close friend and supporter of the late Michael P. Varrato. When Mike passed away, Aram was responsible for donating funds to the league to establish the Michael P. Varrato Scholarship Fund, which awards alumni CWLL players who meet the Funds criteria with up to $1,000.00 to help with their upcoming college expenses. This fund continues to this day and will surely help many CWLL players and families in the future. Aram also spearheaded the design, construction and installation of the Michael P. Varrato Memorial monument that sits at the entrance of the facility for all visitor's to see. On any random Summer day, you may see Aram attend a game and enjoy the the purest form of baseball.

Mike Miller

Mike has been a long time league member as a parent, coach, Board Member and currently as the Major League Coordinator, a Title he has held for many year's. Additionally Mike has been a league sponsor through his local sports memorabilia business Sports Heroes. Mike has fond memories of his two children David and Danny playing in the program and has seen them play other roles in the program over many years which included Dave's umpiring, along with his tenure as a Board Member and Danny's many hours of volunteering during All Star and 8-10 Regional Tournaments. Danny also served several year's as a Board Member until recently. Mike has been a fixture at all Major League games and oversees all aspects of the Division which is a very difficult task when you take into consideration weather, special events and competing schedules. Through it all, Mike has always done the job with the children and overall participation as his number one priority.

Dave Gargaro

Dave is another long time fixture within the CWLL program. As a father, coach, Manager and loyal Board Member, he wore many hats in his days with the league. In a time where each age division has their own designated Coordinator, Dave served as the ONLY coordinator for ALL league divisions. Additionally Dave was the architect of the league wide coaches handbook that had all the helpful hints and drills at a coaches disposal. His organization and system for Opening Day Ceremonies and the facilitation of his famous concession ticket purchasing were valuable tools that made organization easy. In the midst of Opening Day Ceremonies and on most game nights, you would also find Dave's wife Lisa volunteering her time as well while also serving on the Board herself. Late President Mike Varrato relied on Dave for many important tasks because he knew whatever he assigned to Dave it would be completed at the very highest standard with the league interest as a top priority.

Chris Bodine 

Chris, like Lou and Eugene, served as President during the most difficult time in league history. When most leagues would have given up and folded the tent, Chris used his leadership skills and dedication to keep the boat from sinking. He also had a dedicated family that enjoyed the CWLL experience. It cannot be stressed enough how important leaders like Chris were at a time of need. Chris was also a very successful businessman guiding the CVS Corporation to new never reached heights during his tenure. If that wasn't enough, the Bodine family is still a long standing league sponsor through one of the family operated businesses Pro-Tech Automotive. We will be forever grateful to strong leaders like Chris who never gave up on the program and serves as another foundation block of what exists today. 

Louis Pullano

Lou was another very important President in the history of Cranston Western Little League. Serving in many capacities and watching his two boys enjoy the experience of the program, Lou was also responsible for keeping the program from falling off the map of Rhode Island Little League. Without his guidance and leadership like that of Eugene Mollicone, Cranston Western would have never risen to the heights it has during it's history. Lou was also a successful coach and Administrator at various levels including High School and as the Athletic Director of the Community College of Rhode Island succeeding legendary Athletic Director and Coach Vincent Cullen. To this day he remains a important figure in college athletics and education at Johnson and Wales University serving as Faculty Athletics Representative to the NCAA working to enhance the overall student-athlete experience. Additionally Lou heads up the Sports, Entertainment, Event-Management program, which has the largest enrollment in the College of Hospitality Management.

 
Eugene Mollicone 

Eugene has the distinction of being the serving President of Cranston Western Little League during the magical 1996 season that saw them crowned United States Champions in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Though he served a very short term, Eugene and family was involved with the league for many years in several different capacities at a time when the league itself faced the struggles all leagues face at sometime during their existence. Through his leadership and guidance, Eugene set the foundation and foot print for the future success of the program. Some say this period in time could have made or broken the leagues future but the leaders stayed together and with a United States Championship in hand, never done before in the State of Rhode Island, Cranston Western started a very impressive run of success that continues to this day.

Todd Patalano

Todd wore many hats for the program while  coaching and managing all three of his son's Jason, Justin and Jared at all levels through their 12 year old seasons! It would not be unusual for Todd to coach two teams during one season so he could watch his boy's play the game. If that wasn't enough, Todd served on the Board of Director's for many seasons serving as the important Player Agent, who was responsible for collecting all eligibility paperwork during the Tournament Season. People knew Todd were confident that when he finished the All Star Affidavit Books for Tournament play, no one was going to question the validity of what Todd collected! When CWLL advanced to the 2015 Little League World Series in Williamsport, Todd was instrumental is raising close to Twenty Thousand Dollars in two days to defray the cost of travel for the player families! Lastly he has played a pivotal role in apparel sales from the 11 States that visit Cranston during the Annual 8-9-10 East Region Invitational Tournament, that raises thousands of dollars in revenue for the program. We appreciate that Todd is just a phone call away knowing he is always willing to help CWLL be the best it can be in the State and Region.

Bob Rocchio

Bob is just another example of a person who has gone above and beyond for the CWLL program. While coaching, managing and watching his two son's Nicholas and Steven participate through their year's of competition, Bob took on many tasks for the betterment of the program, upgrading of the facilities and being an active member of the Board of Directors. With a family business in landscape construction, Bob and his crew spent countless hours upgrading the fields at Sherman Avenue, SantaMaria and Varrato Fields. He was an instrumental voice in developing a plan that once executed would make the John Chafee Complex the best facility in the state and region. Without his vision with others, that project would have never happened. When Bob decided to retire from his family business, his son Nicholas took the reigns on his own and managed several projects at Varrato Field that included; concrete retaining wall and professional padding on Varrato Field, canopy sun shades on both fields at Chafee and the construction of four fully turfed batting cages just to name a few. Bob didn't stop either taking the Coordinator's position for the 8-9-10 East Region Invitational Tournament and making it truly the best experience a child and family will ever dream of! He provided "baseball for a week, memories for a lifetime". When it was time to finally move forward with other interests, Bob happily passed the torch to his son Steven, keeping the Rocchio influence alive and well for many seasons to come.





































Contact

Cranston Western Little League
450 Hope Road 
Cranston, Rhode Island 02921

Phone: 401-942-7273
Email: [email protected]

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