Baseball rivals raise money for Jimmy Fund

Mt. Hope and Barrington host benefit baseball game

By Josh Bickford
Posted 5/10/22

The Huskies and the Eagles are rivals — that much is clear. 

But on Friday afternoon, under a gray sky at Guiteras Field in Bristol, the baseball teams from both schools met with a …

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Baseball rivals raise money for Jimmy Fund

Mt. Hope and Barrington host benefit baseball game

Posted

The Huskies and the Eagles are rivals — that much is clear. 

But on Friday afternoon, under a gray sky at Guiteras Field in Bristol, the baseball teams from both schools met with a common goal: Raise money for the fight against cancer. 

Mt. Hope Coach Mike Mazzarella planned the benefit baseball game following the loss of his father, Angelo Mazzarella, to cancer in October. 

“This is just a great tribute,” Mazzarella said. “It’s for everyone, everyone’s affected by cancer, by some degree. This is just a fantastic way for us to give back. And this has been a great partnership with Vinnie over in Barrington. Just having that opportunity to work with people … it’s just been a home run.”

Barrington Coach Vin Scandura said he was very happy that he and his team could be part of the event.

“It’s really an honor that he (Mazzarella) would want to do it with me. The minute he reached out to me I said ‘You tell me what you need and I’ll do it for you.’ It’s nice when you have colleagues and you’re respected by your colleagues, and he’s a class-act over here,” Scandura said. “Even though it’s a rivalry, we’ve kept it very good between the two of us. It’s Mt. Hope-Barrington, but we couldn’t have a better relationship, the two of us.”

Mazzarella agreed.

“Vinnie’s just a stand-up guy. I wouldn’t want to do it with anybody else,” Mazzarella said. “We have a very good relationship. I talk baseball with Vinnie on a regular basis. We’ll talk to each other after most games. We check in with each other. The fact that I can do it with a friend makes it even better.

“We’re cross-town rivals, but at the same time, we all come together for the right cause. It’s fantastic. Coming together for a good cause — that’s a good situation for both teams.”

The two teams were able to raise more than $5,000; all the money will be donated to the Jimmy Fund. 

“Our goal (for fund-raising) was $1,957, because that was the year my dad was born. We went right past that goal,” Mazzarella said. “And seeing some of the names (of the people who donated), from alumni to the families in Barrington, it’s just really nice to see.”

Scandura said the fund-raising game will become an annual event. 

“We started this year with jerseys, and next year we’ll add the socks and hats. Next year I’ll host it,” Scandura said. 

“We all have people in our lives that are touched by cancer. We’ve got good, good friends that are dealing with that right now. If we can help raise money in the name of his father, it’s even better.”

The two teams wore special jerseys for the benefit game — Mt. Hope in pink jerseys with white trim, and Barrington in gray jerseys with pink trim. A huge crowd showed up for the game, filling the bleachers and lining the fences. Volunteers collected donations at the gate, and music filled the air as teams warmed up on the field.

Friday’s game marked the second time the two teams had squared off in three days. On Wednesday, May 4, the Eagles hosted the Huskies and won 11-1. But on Friday, playing in front of the hometown crowd, the Huskies celebrated a 3-0 victory.

Mazzarella said his father, Angelo, was a real baseball fan. “He was at every game. It’s not going to be easy,” Mazzarella said just prior to the start of the game. “It’s only been six months (since he passed away). It’s still fresh.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.