Cassidy Maglio was planning to enjoy a snow cone on her busy evening at the ninth annual Catholic Education Night at Dutchess Stadium in Fishkill June 17.
The rising seventh-grader at Most Precious Blood School in Walden won contests to throw out a first pitch before the game and sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning of the New York-Penn League baseball game won by the Lowell Spinners over the Hudson Valley Renegades, 9-2.
“I’m actually terrified,” Cassidy told CNY of throwing out the first pitch. “I just think something is going to go horribly wrong. I’ve never thrown a baseball until three days ago.
“My dad brought me a baseball glove, a baseball and I just started throwing it. I did pretty good. It went over the sheep fence twice by accident because my dad didn’t catch it and I had to go get it. And I couldn’t climb the fence.”
Cassidy wrote an essay on Cardinal Dolan to win a contest to throw out the first pitch.
“I tried to use as many baseball words as possible,” she said. “I looked up baseball words on the computer. I looked at a bunch of articles, used some quotes from Cardinal Dolan, and I just wrote it. He really likes baseball.”
Cardinal Dolan returned to Catholic Education Night for the first time in five years. He posed for photos with fans and later addressed the fans on the field before throwing out a first pitch.
“I love Dutchess County. I love our Renegades. I love Dutchess Stadium. I really love our Catholic schools,” he said to the fans.
Father Michael McLoughlin, pastor of St. Columba in Hopewell Junction and coordinator of Catholic Education Night, said more than 500 tickets were sold at parishes and Catholic schools in the Hudson Valley. The first 2,500 fans entering the game received a commemorative Catholic Education Night baseball with a photo and logo of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
“It’s even more exciting (this year) because the cardinal is with us. That makes it an extra special night,” Father McLoughlin said.
“School is just about out. It’s a chance for the kids to get together, celebrate, have fun and also celebrate Catholic education, our schools and religious ed programs.”
Joe LaSorsa, a graduate of Iona Prep and a pitcher for the Renegades, said his Catholic education helped shape him and he offered some advice for the young children at the game.
“I definitely advise them to listen to their parents because mine were a huge part of my life,” he said. “At the younger levels, have as much fun as you can because the higher you go it’s gonna get a lot more cutthroat, but the friendships that you make in high school and college are the ones that will last forever.”
Catholic school and religious education students were invited to participate in a pregame parade on the field behind their school or parish banner. St. Denis-St. Columba students had a pre-game catch on the field for selling the most tickets. Students from St. Denis-St. Columba sang the National Anthem and Most Precious Blood students led the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” during the seventh inning stretch.
Ava Breining and Maria Carozza, both 9, were two of the St. Denis-St. Columba students singing the national anthem before the game.
“I’m really excited to be here. It’s an honor,” Ava said. “I enjoy singing, watching the game and getting good seats.”
Maria said she was going to “watch the game and eat the food” once she was finished singing. When asked what she might eat, she said, a “snow cone.”