Randolph Baseball Participates in Autism Awareness Challenge Fundraiser Tournament for Third Year Straight


Randolph Baseball competed in the Autism Awareness Challenge, a state-wide baseball and softball fundraiser tournament, held the weekend of Friday, April 21, through Sunday, April 23, at New Brunswick Community Park.

Cole Cabatic, Staff Reporter

Randolph Baseball participated in the annual Autism Awareness Challenge, a state-wide fundraising tournament where baseball and softball teams compete to help raise money to support autism awareness. The three-day-long tournament was held over the weekend of Friday, April 21, to Sunday, April 23, at New Brunswick Community Park.

This marked the third consecutive year that Randolph has participated in the tournament fundraiser. This year’s tournament drew 40-plus baseball teams and 15 softball baseball from across the state.

“It is so special to not just me but the rest of the team,” said junior co-captain Rocco Albano, when asked what the tournament meant to him and the team. “I can tell our guys were completely into it because of the money we raised this year. It was more than other years, and it is such a great feeling as a person and as a team.”

Fundraiser preparations began back in March, when representatives from each team attended a planning dinner at Edison High School on Sunday, March 26. The dinner featured a Child Study Team employee from Somerville High School, who spoke about starting a program at her high school to celebrate autistic students.

At the end of the dinner, team representatives traded their own schools’ special “puzzle piece,” which is the official symbol of autism awareness, with those from other schools. Each school then used their collection of traded puzzle pieces to create a collage, which RHS mounted on a wall in the main lobby by the gym.

“I feel proud of our players for taking this very seriously,” Head Coach Mark Rizzi said. “They were very excited when they found out how well we did. I am sure each player feels that they are helping a worthwhile cause. It shows the character of our team.”

During the tournament, teens with autism threw a ceremonial first pitch to start each game. The Rams saw a solid start to their own game against Middletown South, scoring one run in the first inning. However, this was to be the Rams’ only score of the day, as they went on to suffer an unfortunate loss to their opponents, 11-1.

“The atmosphere of the team definitely changes a bit leading up to the game, because for the first time we know that we’re playing for something bigger than just each other and the town,” said senior co-captain Brendan Bruun of his Autism Awareness Challenge experience. “Getting to raise money for autism and the Teamwork Unlimited Foundation allows us as a team to make a difference not only in our local community, but all across the country, as the money we raised goes directly towards implementing and improving programs for children with autism all over the U.S.”

Editor’s Note: Teamwork Unlimited Foundation, who hosts the Autism Awareness Challenge, encourages anyone to volunteer or donate to support autism awareness. For more information, visit https://www.teamworkunlimitedfoundation.com.