June 13, 2021

Robert F. Amaral LL Field Dedication May 8th

Bob Amaral is the reason girls are in Little League today. Girls softball pioneer field dedication: 12 Noon at Pierce Field

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All former & current softball players invited to attend:
The East Providence City Council at its June 18, 2019 meeting, voted unanimously to name the girls little league field at Pierce Stadium after a long-time league volunteer, Robert F. Amaral. The field had been unnamed for decades after former Central Little League president Amaral lobbied the city for its construction. "Girls were not able to play Little League Baseball according to national rules until 1974," said at-large city councilman Bob Rodericks. Rodericks sponsored the request to name the field for Amaral. "Bob Amaral had been a strong advocate for girls to have the opportunity to play in organized Little League. In 1974, and due in major part to the diligent resolve of Bob Amaral, girls in East Providence began to play organized Little League softball. Girls also have the option to play on a baseball team," Rodericks told his council colleagues.

"I want to thank the council for this great honor. It was a pleasure to have helped these girls play softball," Amaral told the audience after the award. "It wasn't fair that just the boys could play and not the girls. My daughter asked me at dinner one night why we don't play and I was always with the boys. I got the look from my wife and I said okay, you get enough girls and we'll play," said Amaral. The Amarals lived near Pierce Field at the time and upon driving home from work the next night, Robert Amaral found over 16 girls waiting at the field. "I got some equipment and we played ball," he said. Amaral's two daughters and wife Barbara were among other family members and former players in the city hall audience that Tuesday night.

Unfortunately, Bob Amaral passed away after the field naming but before a formal dedication could be held. The Covid 19 pandemic delayed any dedication until the planned event for this May 8, 2021. “At least Bob got to see the council vote and learn that the field was named in his honor,” said his family members. Amaral, a 1954 graduate of East Providence High School, worked at Technic Incorporated before he retired and was also an Army veteran of the Korean War. He was the former President, a manager and coach in the East Providence Central Little League for a total of 35 years, founder and former Director of the East Providence Girls Softball League and past East Bay Little League District Administrator for Girls Softball. Amaral was also a member of the East Providence Council Knights of Columbus #1528, Elks Lodge Bristol and former President and member of the Silver Spring Golf Course.

After a vigorous effort to get girls playing organized softball, the city eventually built a field at the Pierce complex which now bears the name of Bob Amaral. Amaral was 84 when he passed away. His wife Barbara and their daughters Robin and Barbara will attend the May 8th dedication. The dedication will be held on Saturday May 8th, 2021 at 12 noon at the Robert F. Amaral Field at Pierce Field on Lyon avenue. City officials and little league teams will be in attendance.

“We are inviting any former girls softball players to attend and help in the field dedication,” said Bob Rodericks and EPCLL president Chuck Michael. Also, all current league and school players are asked to join in the dedication. League officials point out that Amaral was also a tireless volunteer for all boys teams in the city. “I’m hoping that Rumford and Riverside little leagues are well represented on May 8th. Bob Amaral’s legacy is important to all the youth sports leagues in EP,” added Rodericks.

"Our family is so proud of Dad, and it is great to hear of former players honoring him too," said Amaral's daughter Robin Amaral Lozito. "What a great celebration for our dad and all girls who enjoy the game," added Barbara Amaral Farrand.

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