By Anthony Paradiso
Recently, Greenwich Village Little League’s 10 U Little League World Series team won the District 23 tournament title before reaching the Sectional tournament final where they lost to South Shore Little League. To put things in perspective, Greenwich Village Little League was one win from going to the New York State tournament and if they had won that, they would have earned a spot in the Little League World Series.
This GVLL World Series team made history for the program, winning Districts for the first time since an earlier 10 U did so in 2011. Meanwhile, GVLL’s 12U Softball team won Districts in 2019. The President of GVLL, Peter Marino described how the Little League World Series and Travel teams work at GVLL.
“When the spring season ends, we select a Little League World Series team at a couple of age groups. Basically anybody who plays in GVLL during the spring has a chance to play for us on our LLWS team, which starts at the end of June.”
There was a tryout and the league heads formed two teams, a ten and 12-U team, that would represent Greenwich Village on this big stage.
“When we got to this tournament this year, we had a lot of good nine, ten-year-old players and they quickly jelled together. They went undefeated in the district tournament and went onto Sectionals, where they ran into South Shore, who is frankly one of the best Little League teams in the country. [Our team] fought hard but ran into a juggernaut.”
Marino suggested I talk to Ms. ToniAnn Bonade, a GVLL parent and coach who has helped expand GVLL’s travel program since 2021, up to four teams in the spring and two in the Fall.
Bonade discussed how GVLL formed it’s Little League World Series team earlier this summer.
“The kids kind of already knew each other and practiced twice-a-week, the coaches were fantastic and it felt like there was a great camaraderie on the team. I was surprised when we started competing with the Manhattan teams and then we went to the Bronx and competed…I’d never been part of a little league world series team and to go that far was an awesome experience.”
It must have been fulfilling for Bonade and Marino, who have worked hard to put GVLL’s travel program on the map, to see a team represent GVLL do this well against other leagues in Little League World Series qualifiers but, the work does not end there. Bonade explained that there is still work to be done to help GVLL’s kids who play rec get more opportunities to play games so they too can step up to travel.
“For the kids who didn’t get into travel, I’m hoping we can provide more than one game in the Fall. The only thing is the field-space, you know it’s Manhattan and field space is so hard to come by but we’re not giving up!”