With banners, speeches and cheers, parents and other supporters of the Collette Vacations Fierlit Korzen Post 79 American Legion state champs sent the 16-member team and coaches on their way to the Northeast Regionals in Middletown, Conn. with a “Sendoff Salute” event Wednesday morning at McCoy Stadium.
The event, conducted outside McCoy Stadium by the City of Pawtucket in conjunction with the Pawtucket Red Sox Baseball Club, marked the first time in many years that a Post 79 team has advanced this far in the annual tournament, according to coach Jim Mello.
Post 79 last week won the American Legion Senior Division title in Rhode Island, taking two do-or-die games to cop the Department of Rhode Island American Legion championship.
Giving remarks in praise of the team’s accomplishments were Gene Pytka, American Legion Adjutant General, Richard Cartwright, Fierlit Korzen Post 79 Commander and State Vice Commander, PawSox executive Michael Gwynn, city Director of Constituent Services and Communications Director Dylan Zelazo, on behalf of Mayor Donald R. Grebien who was ill and unable to attend, Collette CEO Dan Sullivan, and Mello, with team public address announcer Tom Degnan acting as emcee.
Dignitaries attending the event included George Walmsley, American Legion state treasurer, Paul Giarrusso, American Legion board of directors member, City Councilor Albert Vitali Jr. and School Committee member Sandra Cano. PawSox mascots Paws and Sox also attended to mix with the players, parents and the many children who came to wish the team off.
At the conclusion of the ceremonies, team members and coaches, including Mello’s assistants Mike Murphy and Matt Allard, boarded the bus for Middletown with members of the team representing Massachusetts that will be their opponent when the regionals begin on Thursday.
Members of the team are: Dylan Boisclair, Dave Kandle, Nathan Bannon, Matthew Ferdenzi, Ben Roy, Ryan Tracy, Ryan Fournier, Tyler Thomas, John Guarino, Dan O’Brien, Joe Pacheco, Nick Souza, Zach Mitsmenn, Jonathan Estrella, Sean Sutherland, Jeff Dodge, and Jarred Schott, who was unable to make the trip.
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