Detroit claims AYF Olympics softball title with dominating performance
Detroit wins the 2021 Olympics softball tournament (Photo: Tamar Kanarian)
The Detroit AYF softball team came, saw, and conquered.
On Saturday’s AYF Olympics, Detroit clinched the title at the AYF softball tournament at East Greenwich High School, finishing its run with a 14-4 win over defending champions Western Region in the semifinals and a 14-3 win over Greater Boston in the Championship.
Detroit surpassed opponents 63-11 in the tournament during their dominant run.
“Although the results showed our strong wins, every team we played against during our four games presented us with unique challenges and none of our games were easy,” said third baseman Vahan Cholakian. “Many of us have been playing softball together for several years, so we are all comfortable playing together and understanding our strengths and weaknesses.”
Detroit’s camaraderie stood out during the tournament as the players wore uniforms similar to those of the Detroit Tigers of Major League Baseball and played music during games to spice up each other.
“We were able to feed the energy of our Detroit alumni in the stands and the youngest alumni in our dugout, who coached us, gave us words of encouragement, and played Armenian and American music to really keep the momentum going,” said Cholakian.
Araxie Tossounian with the bat (Photo: Tamar Canarian)
“We love being together,” said Araxie Tossounian. “The Detroit Chapter is so much fun just being around, be it a meeting or a softball game. We love hanging out with each other. We love cheering and laughing together and making sure that each of us has the time of his life. “
After a sovereign 24-2 win over Washington DC in the opening round, Detroit took care of hosting Providence 11-2 in the quarterfinals before beating defending champions Western Region. Despite the distance between Detroit and the west coast, there was a strong bond between the two cadres.
“Many of us Detroit chapter members have close relationships with members of the West Coast,” said Cholakian. “A lot of our parents are close because some parents from the western region are transplants from Detroit, and it’s great fun when we compete against each other. It is difficult, however, because at the end of the day there has to be a winner and a loser. But I’d be lying to you if I didn’t say it feels good to beat the West Coast because they always offer a highly competitive game. “
In the final, Detroit beat Boston with ease and secured the championship. The “Nejdeh” chapter with brand new red striped team jerseys with Պոսթոն embossing on the front scored 56 runs in the first three games before the final, but only managed to bring home three in the championship.
(Photo: Tamar Canaries)
“I know from personal experience how competitive the Boston Chapter can be and I knew it was going to be a challenge,” said first year player David Armen Coburn. “After seeing how well our team can play, I just knew we had it in our pockets. Although it got brittle at times, we took the hardware home with us. “
In the end, the friendships and camaraderie trumped any kind of hardware for the Detroit champions, especially after a difficult year in Armenia and Artsakh marked by war and COVID-19.
“It meant a lot to see the strength of our community come together after such a tough year between the events in Armenia and Artsakh,” said Coburn. “These events that bring us together show how strong we are as a people.”
“It’s a particular strength to just be together at the Olympics. The pride, passion and commitment of the Armenians continue to triumph, ”added Cholakian.
After nine years as the third base for Detroit, Cholakian looks forward to mentoring future Olympics starting next year in Worcester.
“Next year, I’ll be in the dugout as an AYF alum supporting Detroit softball like so many have done for me. I look forward to seeing future Detroiters compete, build friendships, and create everlasting memories. “
(Photo: Sona Gevorkian)
Andre Khatchaturian is a digital content producer for the New England Sports Network (NESN). At NESN, he has produced written and video content on the New England Patriots, Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, Boston Bruins, martial arts, and other national sports news. He has also produced content on-site at two Super Bowls, the Stanley Cup playoffs, NBA playoffs, and dozen of UFC bouts. Andre is from Glendale, California and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Southern California. In 2013 he moved to Boston, where he attended Boston University and graduated with a Masters in Broadcast Journalism.