MALDEN (WHDH) – A special ceremony was held in Malden Sunday to honor a former little league player and Special Olympian.
Friends and family came together to remember Alex Gentile who passed away last June at the age of 21 by renaming a park in his memory.
“Having a park named after Alex to give him a lasting legacy, it is incredible,” Alex’s father Gerald Gentile said. “We don’t have words for it.”
He was a Special Olympian and a player for the Massachusetts District 12 Challenger League since its inception in 2011.
“He was an instrumental part of our program,” League President Marie Shea said. “He was with us when we started. It was great to see him progress. He was in a wheelchair when we started. Then he got to the walker.”
Program organizers say the league allows kids with special needs to grow on and off the field.
“Year after year it has gotten bigger and bigger and bigger,” League Vice President Bernie Colbert said. To watch these kids go from when they first get to us, some of them can’t even stop and think let alone stand still. But we keep working, working, working with them and they eventually get it. Alex got it.”
Now, the team is getting ready for another milestone.
They will be taking a trip to the Little League World Series in Williamsport Pennsylvania.
The team will also take on a Challenger League team from Ontario Canada in August.
‘We are the first team from Massachusetts to go,” Shea said. “It is actually the first international game. So we are going to be playing Canada. It is really an honor and we are so excited to be going.”
Alex’s former teammates say they are looking forward to hitting the road and getting on the diamond.
They know he will be in their hearts during the big game.(Copyright (c) 2019 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)