DANVERS — The St. John’s Prep baseball team wasn’t looking to strike out their opponents from Malden Catholic on Monday.
The Eagles were there to strike out ALS.
Debuting special alternate jerseys in honor to St. John’s Prep Hall of Famer Pete Frates (Class of 2003), the Eagles took down MC, 3-1. With purpose in their steps and their brother’s battle against Lou Gehrig’s Disease in their hearts, the Prep’s 2013 team showed the bond that connects all Eagles is a strong as its ever been.
Frates, who went to captain the baseball team at Boston College, has been fighting ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a degenerative nerve condition) for a little more than a year. He’s used his connections in the baseball world to spread awareness about the disease, and his family launched the Pete Frates No. 3 Fund.
In a ceremony before Monday’s game, Prep captains Tommy Buonopane, Tyler Noe and Brandon Bingel presented Frates with a check for the fund and his own special alternate jersey.
“We wanted to do something for Pete. He’s such a big part of the school,” said Noe, whose parents helped provide the jerseys. “This was really special for both us and Pete.”
The alternate jerseys were white pullovers with blue and gray horizontal stripes at the bottom, emblazoned with “PREP” across the chest. Designed by the players, they put the “Strike Out ALS” ribbon in the upper left corner, and a red baseball with Frates’ No. 3 on the sleeves. They also had their trademark Eagle on the back.
“We weren’t sure what the best way to honor Pete would be; maybe put his name on all our shirts or his number. But these jerseys were the perfect thing,” said Bingel.
Frates’ passion and positive outlook are easy to relate to for today’s players, who meet him and immediately want to know how they can help.