Fontbonne goes to bat for autism fundraiser

“Once I put out word about a fundraiser for autism over the winter, I had a lot of teams knocking at my doorstep,” stated Fontbonne Softball Head Coach Frank Marinello concerning the response to raise money for autism research.

For Marinello, the issue of autism is a family matter since his 15-year-old nephew has the disorder that affects the neurological development of social and communication skills.

In response to the fundraiser held on Sunday May 3 at the McGuire Bergen Beach Fields, Marinello was able to get a diverse mix of teams from private and public schools to provide, in many cases, some first-time competition while raising $8,017 for the day’s cause.

Along with host Fontbonne, St. Edmund Prep and Telecommunications entered the tournament from Brooklyn. Entering from Staten Island were teams from St. Joseph by the Sea, St. Joseph Hill, Notre Dame, Port Richmond and Susan Wagner.

From Queens, the High School of Construction, St. Francis Prep, Archbishop Molloy and Mary Lewis also sent teams, while the Preston School came from the Bronx and Kellenburgh Memorial came in from Uniondale, Long Island.

With an entry fee of $200 along with two donated gift baskets from each team and a 50-50 drawing, the Bonnies exceeded their previous fall 2014 breast cancer tournament fundraiser by $6,000.

“Besides raising money, I want my girls to appreciate how lucky they are while others with autism are simply unable to play a game like softball,” said tournament organizer Marinello.  “This was our first tournament and I’m looking forward to making this an annual event for the spring.”

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