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Quick-thinking Little Leaguer rescues cousin from icy waters

In a selfless act of bravery, Belleville National Little Leaguer Angelo Domenick, Jr. (11) rescued his 4-year-old cousin, after the youngster fell into the icy waters of Barnegat Bay near Tom’s River, N.J.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (March 19, 2004) – So often in Little League, a child’s greatest sacrifice comes when he’s asked to drop down a bunt and give himself up to move a runner into scoring position.

It’s a rare feat indeed when a youngster will risk life and limb to help another like 11-year-old Angelo Domenick, Jr., did recently when he leapt into the frigid waters of Barnegat Bay in Tom’s River (N.J.) to rescue his 4-year-old cousin.

Angelo, a baseball player in the Belleville National Little League, has been in the program since he was nine, and is the son of Angelo and Gina Domenick. Mr. Domenick is also a Little League volunteer, and Angelo has two sisters who participate in the league’s softball program.

According to Mr. Domenick, the Little Leaguer rescued Patrick Muccigrosso after the toddler slipped past a retaining net and broke through the ice, while playing near his aunt’s suburban Newark (N.J.) home.

Angelo Sr. said, Patrick fell head-first over a net and down four feet to the ice and smashed through. “It’s a miracle both didn’t go under,” he explained.

Doug Cantarella recently retired from Belleville Little League after 37 years of volunteer service, with the last eight spent as league president.

Upon hearing the harrowing news, he recalled thinking to himself – ‘That’s Angelo’. Mr. Cantarella said Angelo’s unselfish act did not surprise him because he is such a wonderful young man.

Describing the Domenick family’s long association with Little League dating back to his great grandfather, who was a co-founder of the league 52 years ago, Mr. Cantarella said, “It’s a privilege to see the deeds that they do and it’s a credit to the Domenick family. Angelo is competitive, respectful and good-hearted and there aren’t many of them around.”

Current Belleville League president Jay Messina offered some perspective on the heroic act as well, stating, “With all the talk of heroes in the past months and years, for that young man to be brave enough to jump into the icy waters is an amazing feat. I tip my hat to Angelo for making that kind of split-second decision.”

The freezing temperature of the water did not affect young Patrick because of the boy’s quick thinking. In the water up to his chin, Angelo carried Patrick over his head to the water’s edge, where his uncles, Vincent Testa and Michael Muccigrosso, - Patrick’s father - pulled the boys to safety.

Neither boy was injured, but Angelo did come down with pneumonia. Following a visit to the family’s pediatrician, Angelo was treated at home and recently returned to school, despite still battling a harsh cough. He has not been cleared for sports, but Mr. Domenick said, “as soon as his cough clears, the doctor will give him the OK. (Otherwise) he’s doing fine and can’t wait to play baseball.”

Angelo plays first base and third base and has seen time on the pitcher’s mound for his Amvets (American Veterans) team, but what Cantarella said sets the big right-hander apart is, “he has a heck of a bat.”