Two of my favorite subjects to write about are baseball and the good deeds of North Kingstown residents, especially the youth of NK. As the press agent for Wickford Little League, I love hearing about ball players (past and present) who are not only continuing with baseball, but also serving their community through volunteerism and charitable giving. Recently, I was notified about the senior project of a former Wickford Little League star, who went on to become a star not only at the middle school level but continues to impress at the high school level. His name is Chad Mansolillo and his senior project involves baseball, charity, and the Boston Red Sox.
I reached out to Chad through his mother, Lisa, to learn more about the project. As part of Chad’s senior project, he will be collecting new and slightly used (functional) baseball and softball equipment, which will then be donated to the Red Sox Foundation. The Red Sox Foundation will then distribute the sporting goods to inner city kids and teams in need via the RBI Program, which stands for Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities. Chad’s father, Tony, is a former president and coach with Wickford Little League. I had the great opportunity this past week to sit down with Chad and his parents to talk baseball, charity, and more. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:
First off, thank you for inviting me to your house to learn more about your senior project. What attracted you to this particular donation and project?
I guess it was a great fit. My love for baseball and having played it so many years, I wanted to give back to the game. After reading up on the charity and the RBI program, I could really see the benefits of the program. I’m looking forward to getting a ton of gear for the kids.
In your opinion, does the right gear or quality of gear really make that much of a difference in terms of performance?
Performance, not so much. But mentally speaking yes. If you have an old bat that is really dented or a glove with holes or catcher’s gear that doesn’t quite fit or secure to your body, I think there is a mental drop off. If you are thinking about whether or not you can manage with your glove or bat, there maybe a mental letdown on the field. I imagine a nice bat or glove in the hands of a good ball player, who can then perform at his/her very best without thinking twice whether it will work or not.
So what conditions will this project be centered around?
So, I am looking for new or slightly used baseball and softball gear. Gloves with holes, bats that are warped or broken, chewed up baseballs – sorry I cannot take those. If you have a glove that had one season’s worth of use, that might work. Or a bat that was never used or catcher’s gear that is functional shape, I would like to donate that to RBI.
And, how has the project been going so far? How are you spreading the word about the need for this equipment?
So, it is set up like a grass roots marketing campaign. A lot of referrals from players and coaches I have played with and for. Word of mouth has been very successful both by myself and through my network of Wickford Little League as well as NK High School friends. My parents have been a great help as well, letting their friends know about it. I would say “So far, so good.” But I could definitely use more equipment.
What are your fondest memories of Wickford Little League baseball?
One year, I won the home run title as the player with the most home runs that season. My father, who was the Little League President at the time, handed me the award. That was a special moment for my family. And every year, the annual Opening Day parade was something I looked forward to. Marching with my friends and teammates through town, the ceremony at Wilson Park, the first pitch. It was a great experience. Highly recommended.
I see on your resume that you have made quite a name for yourself on the baseball field. Coaches that I have spoken to say you are one of the best players to come out of North Kingstown in years. Congratulations on all your success.
Thanks. I have to say, I have put the work in. With my father’s help and influence, I have practiced and worked hard to get to where I am today. If I were giving a speech to young players, that is what I would stress. Yes, I play video games and hang out with my friends. But, I also train and practice and workout and push myself to be the very best baseball player I can be. My dad taught me that the more work I do, the better off I will be. He was right and I’m looking forward to improving on my success every time I step on the field.
Truly a remarkable young man here in North Kingstown who will continue to make a name for himself, on and off the baseball field. If you would like to donate to Chad Mansolillo’s senior project and the RBI program, you can contact Chad via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, Chad is looking for new and slightly used (functional) baseball and softball equipment, which will then be donated to the Red Sox Foundation. The equipment will then be distributed to inner cities baseball organizations via the RBI program. I want to thank the Mansolillo family for welcoming me into their home and to learn more from Chad about this great project.
You may also send me a message through this blog site and I will forward it to Chad.
The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.