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On Sunday afternoon, Somers once again gathered for the Stephenie Crispinelli Softball Tournament and Fundraiser. Set in motion for the ninth year and remembering the passing of Stephenie in the Haiti Earthquake, the spirit was definitely in the air, according to close family friend Joe Mirabile.
“The tournament keeps the memory close - like she never left,” said Mirabile.
Stephenie’s Mission can say the same. The place where Stephanie’s educational outreach held the most passion was Jamaica, and that’s where the family has now built seven schools.
Of course, the next structure is already in the offing. “From October 16th - 20th the mission is going to Jamaica to build Steph’s Place Eight,” said Mia Mirabelle,
Mirabelle has been involved with the foundation since the beginning and annually holds down the table that doles out the raffle tickets. But picking the winners pales in comparison to seeing the new schools going up against the backdrop of the old dilapidated structures.
She does concede, though, that it is a little nerve-wracking for those breaking Jamaican ground among a bunch of strangers. But the bonding begins almost immediately. “They start working, and you can feel the excitement and energy,” she said. “It’s contagious.”
At the same time, the mission has its own kinetics set on spreading. “We hope we can expand elsewhere,” said Mirabelle.
On the field, Brianna Constantino had her interest set on upward mobility. But the left fielder also knew the limitations of improving on the team’s semifinals appearance last July. “We’re a year older,” she conceded.
Constantino did not show any signs of slowing down, though. Her sister looked pretty spry too and played down any sense of sibling rivalry. “Her wins are my wins,” said Jenna Constantino.
On the other hand, neither was really holding out for the hardware. “This tournament is special, because we see the town come together for a girl who impacted so many,” said Jenna. “You can see her in us every year.”
The premise has always sat well with John Prano, and the team he fields every year as the owner of Training for Warriors. “The TFW training regimen is about getting excited about people other than yourself. We cooperate rather than compete on the way to reaching goals.”
That means the tournament's aspiration of getting people together brings Prano and his team out with the same community mindedness. Unfortunately, TFW’s exit prior to the final four didn’t seem to soften the blow for Frank Caltabellotta. “I sucked,” the Somers resident said of his stint on the mound.
Community Building and Goodwill wins the Boxscore
But Caltabellotta was more tongue and cheek in favor of the day's real intent. His teammates were there to pick him up nonetheless. “Frank did great,” assured Prano.
On the other end of the age spectrum, recent grads from Somers took the field with high expectations. “We are going to win this tournament,” Eric Ferrara boasted playfully.
Ryan Elliot was ready to hold down the outfield too. “Balls aren’t going to be dropping anywhere,” said Elliot.
But Nicolas Fiore picked his teammates up and understood that age and experience provide the real advantage in this game. “They know what their doing,” he said of his elders.
The insight didn’t really help, though. Falling 16-0 in the second round, the kids could only collectively shake their heads. But there’s no reason to believe that they won’t be back, and a little more savvy will certainly have them making a big dent in the future.
Even so, the head scratching didn’t extend to the mission at hand. “This is a great event that brings the whole town together,” said Ferrara.
And that’s the only boxscore that mattered.
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