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'Coach Val' remembered
Warwick Beacon photo by Pete Fontaine
SALUTE: The “Coach Val” Innocente Fundraiser held Saturday in Roger William Park attracted many of the former Hendricken coach’s colleagues and friends. Above, former Hawk head basketball coach Steve Ceseretti, who also coached baseball at the Warwick school, holds a picture of one of their state championship teams. The group also includes Tony Leone, Bob Stephens and Chairperson Lori Mello.

The late Valentino “Coach Val” Innocente’s popularity resurfaced Saturday inside sun-splashed Roger Williams Park, where an all-volunteer committee headed by Lori Mello raised $3,000 to perpetuate his name and help inner city kids in his native Providence.

By day’s end, the event raised that money from selling raffle tickets, hats, T-shirts and a wide range of memorabilia.

“It was an outpouring of love for our dear friend, Coach Val,” Mello said. “I could not believe the number of people who turned out.”

Added Paul Giarrusso, a Johnston resident and committee member: “Today (Saturday) is like a ‘Who’s Who’ in Rhode Island baseball. People of all ages came to show their respect for a great man who dedicated a half century of coaching kids.”

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