The 2021 Roosevelt Island Little League baseball season began Saturday, April 17
and played through June 19 with Division Championship Games for the kids and a
Coaches Game for the kids at heart too.
Roosevelt Island Little League wife and mom Suzy del Campo Perea reports
and shares these photos:
When parents received on March 5th the email from the RI Little Leagues
Coordinator Danny about the baseball program coming back this Spring, it
was not only parents and children excited: the coaches got that shine in
their eyes and were ready to go back to the field.
To be honest, when I told my husband Coach Roberto about the Little League
happening this year I noticed a smile on his face, the shinning in his eyes,
and his usual calmness thinking out loud: where is my glove? Our first comment was: “Coaches game? It’s going to be awesome, we have
been waiting for 2 years for it to happen again.”
I am pretty sure that the reaction was similar among all our returning
exceptionally well and almost all the previous years coaches were more than
eager to come back to coach. Some of those coaches have been volunteering in
the little League since it started 6 years ago.
The coaches organized a scrimmage to be able to have balanced teams among
the 3 categories: T-ball, Minors and Majors. The goal was very clear, to
provide kids with a safe and supportive environment to learn and practice a
Sport, have fun, and to have what all the kids and parents have been
missing: socialization of their kids among their peers, teamwork and if
possible a victory every single game.
The Little League had over 100 players from age 5 (Kindergarten) to 14 yrs
old (HS Freshman) all genders and all abilities, and 24+ coaches. Those
coaches are the heart of the League. We had a wide array of coaches from
very young coaches single with no kids, as well as a very experienced coach,
and great player that is a Grandpa Jimmy Starace Sr.; female coaches, adults
with no kids, coaches that have played before as well as others that have
never played before. The common characteristic that they share is the Sense
of Community to give Love back to our kids, to RI youth!
Every Saturday morning, the coaches of T-ball were at the field as early as
9am to get the little ones playing. They stay calmed and offered words of
encouragement. It is not an easy task to have about 9-12 children 5-7 yrs
old learning a sport, trying to hit and catch a ball and have fun at the
same time. The coaches patience is formidable.
Minors and Majors coaches had a more difficult task, to create a team that
can hit, catch, throw, and be quick to make the right decision. Majors
coaches were at Capobianco field every single Saturday afternoon. These
coaches gave the kids a sense of belonging in a team, gave them amazing
afternoons of training during the week, not even rain can stop them. Minors
Grey Vultures took advantage of the muddy Pony field, and led by Coach Ben,
they learned to slide! Who cares about some mud EVERYWHERE when the kids and
the kids at heart were having so much fun and a lesson on top of it!
Coaches moved back and forth carrying the huge baseball bag loaded with
equipment without complaint. They arrived early on game days to make sure
their players warmed up and were ready to have the best day of their
All coaches supported each other, there was no coach that will not lend a
hand when needed even if they weren’t asked. They cheer for all players,
and they kept tabs on each other’s games. The willingness to coach the
kids made the difference in the lives of these kids and their
Plenty of times coaches were congratulating younger players down Main
Street: “Great game! You had fun?” “I know you hit really good. Keep up
the good work!” That is the spirit and the normalcy of Roosevelt Island
that they brought this Spring.
We had 10 regular games, one All-Star game, semifinals and the Finals plus
the Coaches game. All teams won some games and lost others, coaches made
sure that a positive attitude and respect for the team played against were
at the top of the list. Some coaches brought treats for the kids,
sponsored pizzas for weekday games, and kept the spirits high.
The most waited, expected and exciting game of the whole season was the
coaches game. Grey and Blue coaches vs. Red and Green. What a game! We
even got back a very well loved and respected coach: Matt Hoskinson who
came to play with his friends. We had pitching for the Red&Green team
Mr Jimmy Starace Sr, and for the Grey&Blue Ben Rose. The umpire was
Eugenio García, Blue Majors player.
The bleachers were full. Parents, players, friends, sons, daughters,
neighbors, even residents of Coler came down to watch and cheer every
single play. The coaches finally got to play,
and we got to see how suddenly these adults that gave so much love to
our kids were transformed into kids
even at home.
There were almost home runs, almost cause the grown trees prevented the
balls to land at Grandpa Al Lewis playground. Everyone cheered the whole
This game was the culmination of a season that gave us so much. The
season gave the kids a sense of normalcy, they belong to a team and they
weren’t behind a screen. We got fun, joy and got so many
accomplishments. To parents, it was a relief to feel that finally we could
move back to a much normal activity where our kids can be together and
play. And for the coaches the time to give back to their community, for
their kids, the friends of their own kids (if any) and for all the
kids of RI; an opportunity to teach a sport they love, to see smiles on
young faces and to enjoy every second of being part of the Roosevelt
Island Little League.
To me and to so many more, the stars of Spring 2021 are RI Little League
Coaches! Muchas Gracias
Thank you so much for all the love you gave to RI, you know how special you
are to my family. I just hope that next year on top of a Coaches Game we can
celebrate the season at any RI spot (hope we can get some recognition from
our RI Business for all of you).
Roosevelt Island Little League Coach Ben Rose reports on the Division
The Roosevelt Island Little League, is sponsored through the Roosevelt
Island Center of Community Development (RICCD). The league started it’s
season in mid-April and offered a 10-game season, free for all players,
and comprised mainly of Island kids, as well as some of our neighbors
from Astoria and Long Island City.
The league organizers and managers are Arya Shirazi and Daniel
Vithlani. They volunteered countless hours and Saturdays to ensure a
wonderful season for players and their families.
Roosevelt Island Little League Majors Division Champions
On June 19, 2021, 3 pm game time, the #1 Chilies defeated the #2
Greyhounds in a blowout.
Coaches: JP Starace, Alex Chou, Jimmy Starace, Carlos Rodriguez
Players: Jas Starace, Luca Starace, Toby Chou, Alex Rodriguez, Jamin
Rose, Diego Shirazi, Ben Gillespie, Tice Collins, Emilia Garcia, Oliver
Lenowitz, Isaiah Ballard
Roosevelt Island Little League Minors Division Champions
On June 19, 11 AM game time, the #4 Vultures upset the #2 Blue Wolves 6-5
to win the championship. (The win came after the vultures knocked off the
#1 Red Blazing Phoenixes 5-4 in the playoffs to earn their championship
berth). The Vultures had a storybook season when, after starting the
season 0-5, the Vultures won all but one of their remaining games; each
victory by a single-run margin or in extra innings.
Coaches: Ben Rose, Roberto Borja
Players: Mason Rose, Leire Borja, Itziar Borja, Milo Mackey, Luke
McNamara, Maxwell Devine, Beau Estreich, Julian Palmer, Juliana Paredes,
Bran Heffner, Lorenzo Lineros, Adrian Turner