What that moment symbolized, though, went well beyond nine innings, three bases, home plate and the seamed leather ball.
The Eagles, who set a program record by winning 22 straight games, wore special ‘Strike Out ALS’ uniforms for much of the season to honor Frates and his battle against Lou Gehrig’s disease. They debuted them before a win over Malden Catholic in April, and presented Frates with a check to help support his No. 3 Fund.
It was marvelous to watch this year’s Prep baseball embrace Frates, who was a regular at their home games and sent the team a good luck video message from his honeymoon in Turks and Caicos before their Division 1 North semifinal against Peabody. They look at Frates as a teammate and a brother in need of support, and not just an older guy who used to play at St. John’s; the bond between him and team was genuine. For a bunch of 16, 17, and 18-year-old kids to grasp what it means to fight ALS is a credit to their maturity, to Frates’ incredible personality, and to coaches Pat Yanchus, Dan Letarte and Ryan Leahy.
Just about every time they took the field, the St. John’s baseball team had Frates’ No. 3 on their shoulders, emblazoned on a red baseball on their alternate shirts. The Eagles, ranked No. 1 in the state for much of the season, ultimately fell in the North final and did not win the state championship they craved. By taking spots on the front line in the fight to strike out ALS, though, they proved that they were winners where it counts the most.
MARBLEHEAD FOOTBALL TOPS NEWBURYPORT IN FIRST-EVER DOUBLE OT VICTORY (Oct. 5)
By GIANNA ADDARIO
It’s hard enough to narrow down the best moments of a season, never mind an entire year of sports thrillers.