By Steve Malley
Apr. 26, 2017: The Bronxville Broncos' baseball team will play one of its most important games of the season when it faces Tuckahoe at 11:00 am on Saturday at Scout Field.
The Broncos are in the middle of a classic rebuilding season, according to head coach Joe Ferraro and assistant Bobby Crosby. The 20-player roster includes one eighth-grader, nine freshmen, one sophomore, seven juniors, and two seniors. As many as five freshmen often fill the starting lineup or are on the field at the same time.
The Bronxville varsity team warms up before a game. Photo by S. Malley.
Saturday's game is important for reasons that extend beyond the win-loss column.
Each spring, the sports teams at Bronxville celebrate Spirit Week, which provides athletes and fans the opportunity to give back to the school and the community. The Spirit Week baseball game is traditionally called Fan Appreciation Day.
Among the key objectives for Saturday are opportunities to raise money for two worthwhile causes.
First, the proceeds from the 50/50 raffle will benefit Believe in Brynn, a charity affiliated with the Rett Syndrome Research Trust. "Brynn" is Brynn Connor, the five-year-old daughter of Shawn Connor, who has been a friend of Coach Ferraro's for almost 25 years. Brynn suffers from Rett Syndrome, a debilitating neurological disorder that affects primarily females. Many with Rett's cannot speak, walk, or use their hands, and some experts believe the symptoms of Rett Syndrome are reversible. Coach Ferraro has dedicated the Broncos' season to helping his friend find a cure for his daughter's condition.
Second, Bronxville baseball families will sell baked goods, tee shirts, and other Bronco memorabilia as a first step toward raising funds for a 2018 spring training trip to Florida. Not only will this trip feature baseball games and practices for the Broncos, but it also will merge development of baseball skills with bigger-picture emphasis on leadership development.
In addition to coaching the baseball team, Coach Ferraro teaches English at Valhalla High School. In his first two seasons with the Broncos, he has found many opportunities to bring the classroom to the field. This season, for example, he has implemented a program called Bronxville Baseball Core Values--Resilience, Communication, Focus, and Joy. Coach Ferraro believes those four values will resonate with the players long after they stop trying to hit curve balls.
Bronxville makes the out at home. Photo by S. Malley.
Looking forward, Coach Ferraro is developing a related curriculum-based program focusing on leadership development. This program will be rolled out with the baseball team in 2018, and the players will learn to implement many of its lessons while training in Florida. If all goes to plan, the program will soon be available for implementation by all interested teams at Bronxville High School.
Pictured here: The Bronco varsity baseball team in action.
Photos by Steve Malley