When Eagles pitcher David Grimaldo looked down at the mound during Tuesday's nights game against Joliet Central, he knew exactly who he was pitching for.
Players on the boys freshmen baseball team wrote "Ryan" on the mound to honor , . The group was told early in the season to stick together, they said, and has recently relied on that camaraderie more than they ever thought they may.
On Monday morning, the team met to decide whether they would play the next game. Players, parents and coaches all agreed they should.
“The parents have been great through it all,” said Coach Derrick Smith. “They were right there with us in the morning yesterday.”
This season is the first for Smith and Assistant Coach Adam Altobelli at the helm of the Eagles team. After beating Joliet 20-1 Tuesday, players lingered around the ball field—some perfecting drills, others raking out the school's baseball diamond.
"This game meant everything to me," player Jason Enguita said. "I had never pitched before, and coach let me pitch today. I just wanted to do it for Ryan."