Local veterans honored by baseball team


On Wednesday, April 24, the Sayville varsity baseball team played in their annual Salute the Troops game against Miller Place.

The tradition to honor veterans on the field began in 2005 with then-coach Ryan Cox, who now serves the district as athletic director.

“I started the event as the baseball coach in 2005 as a way to honor our veterans and active military.  My father is a Vietnam veteran as is coach Barry Fitzpatrick, two people I truly admire and respect.  With the assistance of the booster club, coaches, players, and community, we started this tradition to honor those who served and serve,” said Cox.

The event began with the American flag being hung by the Sayville and West Sayville fire departments. Rain was a concern, but passed before the ceremony began.

Fifteen veterans were in attendance, including grandfathers of the boys baseball program as well as American Legion Post 651 and VFW Post 433 amongst other local veterans.

Sayville junior Cameron Quinlan sang the national anthem and for a valorous ending, four planes from the Bayport Aerodrome flew overhead.

Handwritten notes from Sayville elementary children were given to each veteran, along with small American flags and a personalized golf towel, all tokens for gratitude of their service.

“This is a great day to continue with the tradition set by Dr. Ryan Cox in 2005. We love to honor the veterans and active military in this community. This is what makes Sayville so amazing—everyone in the community coming together to support and make this a very special day,” said manager Joe Esposito.

“This game is very special to me. My grandfather, Theodore Califano, an Army veteran, passed away five years ago, and I wear No. 70 as my uniform number (the age he was when he passed) to honor him and always remember him,” said Tyler Brown, a junior on the baseball team.

“It was a privilege to play this game and honor our veterans. If it wasn’t for their sacrifices, it might not have been possible to be playing here today, doing what we love,” said Chris Spatenga, a junior.

“I think it was a great experience as a player and definitely for our community. It’s not every day you get 15 veterans in one place. I think it is an absolute honor to be able to show our respect through a baseball game, and I think it is an overall great day not just for the players, but for the community,” said Andrew Law, a junior. 


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