Rhode Island LL’ers Make Big Hit
CRANSTON, R.I.—What’s it like winning a New England championship and playing in the nationals before a TV audience in Williamsport, Pa.?
Just ask Michael (Bogo) Bogosian and Jason (Torigian) Patalano. The two Armenian youngsters were part of a celebrated Cranston Western Little League (LL) team that won the heart and soul of Rhode Island and just barely missed out in representing the United States in a World Series match against Japan.
Their pictures were flashed from coast-to-coast aboard ESPN-TV as they appeared on camera introductions, toting an infectious smile. It was baseball at its best for these Boys of Summer.
“For a couple young Armenian kids out of Cranston, they truly represented our nation in the best possible manner,” said Steve Elmasian, a close family friend. “You can’t put a price on this type of entertainment. Forget about pro sports. In a season that has been downtrodden with the Boston Red Sox, this Cranston team was the highlight of New England baseball.”
After winning local honors in their state, they proceeded to capture the New England title before advancing to the World Series in Pennsylvania. A 10-4 victory over the New Hampshire Bedford LL sealed the crown as Cranston finished the New England Regional Tournament with a 4-1 record.
A crowd of 46,000 spectators erupting into screams of euphoria was typical fare during these Williamsport games. The youngsters handled such hype as if they were already playing in the big leagues.
It was 19 years ago that this same team (with a different lineup, of course) went to Williamsport and won the national title. What made that team special was the fact there were also two Armenians among the cast of players: Tom Michael and Jacob Barzigian.
Michael Bogosian is the son of David and Diane Bogosian and grandson of Ken and Sandra Bogosian, who’ve been involved with the AYF Olympics over the decades. David was a tennis champion for the Providence team, which is hosting this year’s extravaganza.
Jason Patalano’s most memorable moment was smacking a couple hits in one of their games at Williamsport against South Carolina. He’s the grandson of Clarice Torigian, another popular name throughout the Rhode Island Armenian community.
“These two boys are the prodigy of genocide survivors who somehow made it to our country a century ago,” added Elmasian. “Their forefathers were more interested at that time in putting food on the table and learning to adopt a different language. They played with class and dignity.”
The team’s coach, Gary Bucci, had nothing but praise for his youngsters, many of whom will likely be playing for their high school teams.
“They were very committed, from the parents right down to the coaches,” he said. “We’re very fortunate there’s a big commitment to Cranston Little League and the people who are involved.”
Source: Armenian Weekly
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