BY CHARLES OSBORN
Jerry Costa has been managing little league teams for nine years, starting when his son turned five. But this season was different.
The Katie Den Little League team out of Bayside not only won all 20 of its games this season; they won on behalf of victims of the December 2012 shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut.
A parent whose child played for Costa approached the coach about wearing a patch to call attention to the victims of the grisly school shooting. Costa immediately got in touch with Bayside Little League President Bob Reid.
“I go to the baseball field all the time and see young, six-year-old kids playing and laughing and having a good time,” Costa said. “Win or lose, it doesn’t make a difference to them as long as they’re playing baseball. I don’t care how much money the professionals make. Baseball was invented for kids.”
Reid approved the patches, and the team, sponsored by Katie Den Enterprises, had an official rallying cry: “One-Two-Three-Newtown!” They chanted it before innings as well as after games, including their final victory on June 21, sewing up that perfect 20-0 season and a story for the ages. Each win represented one child whose life was taken at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“There were 26 total victims at Sandy Hook, and six of them were teachers and staff. When I was told that we had won 20 games for 20 children victims, I had to pull myself together,” Costa said.
“Two of the kids playing for the team had never picked up a bat or a glove. It’s a miracle what we were able to accomplish for those kids,” Costa added. “Baseball is a great game. [The] children will never be forgotten. They will always been in our hearts.”