EAST PROVIDENCE — The East Providence High School softball team formally christened its refurbished diamond on a sunny, crisp spring afternoon Monday, April 29, with a pre-game ceremony and eventually a solid 6-1 victory over visiting Cranston East in a Division I outing.
Three Townie pitchers — starter Lauren Discuillo along with relievers Michaela Kelley and Nicole Strik — combined to twirl a three-hitter as East Providence improved to 7-2 in the league standings. The Thunderbolts dipped to 4-4.The Townies plated two runs each in the home half of the third, fifth and sixth innings. Cranston East scratched out its lone tally in the top of the seventh.
Kelley, a junior who also plays first base for the locals, had two hits and a run batted. Senior third baseman Lucianni Medici added a RBI triple.
The win was the cherry on top of what was a delicious day for the Townies at their tasty renovated home field on the EPHS campus.
When budget cuts for transportation were implemented last spring, head coach Rob Traverse almost immediately started a grass-roots effort to resurrect the dilapidated softball area at the high school.
The Townies would likely be unable to procure buses to reach their old home at Pierce Field, so Coach Traverse along with several parents of his players literally sprung into action. They worked all facets of the public and private sectors, securing government grants as well as donations of time, money and supplies from area businesses while receiving hours of support from volunteers.
The renovations included an improved playing surface, both the infield clay and outfield grass, permanent fencing down the foul lines, a removable fence along the outfield boundary, enclosed dugouts with matching supply closets and a wind sock along the outfield fence that reads “Townies Softball.”
The city’s politicians, Reps. Helio Melo and Joy Hearn and Sen. Daniel DaPonte, garnered some $13,000 in grant money for the project. Exxon-Mobil, Home Depot and smaller local businesses anted up both personnel and material. Students and instructors at the East Providence Career and Tech Center capped off the renovations by roofing and painting the cinder block dugouts.
Legendary local radio personality Steve McDonald, of WHJY and URI men’s basketball fame, served as Master of Ceremonies Monday, noting the cumulative efforts of all those involved in the project but rightfully singling out Coach Traverse for his diligence and determination to get it done.
“It truly does take a village to do something like this,” Coach Traverse said as he spoke to the gathering, arms spread from his body, encompassing his surroundings.
“This is not about one person,” he added, modestly. “It’s about a whole lot of people coming together to do something special for the community.”