The St. Francis Red Raiders baseball team were on top of the world in 2015.
They overcame a slow start, and the young roster came together to win the Georgetown Cup — the school’s first title win since 2008. The school year started and the Red Raiders were steering towards another good season in 2016.
Then, once the New Year came, life threw something at them that they’d never expect. Their beloved assistant coach, Jeff Sgroi, died suddenly in February of 2015.
Sgroi, a lifelong friend of St. Francis head coach Paul Bartell, was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma in mid-January, and passed away not even three weeks later at the age of 45.
Baseball had always been a huge part of Sgroi's life, having played with Bartell all the way through adulthood. So when he passed away, he told his brother Pat the following: "Take care of Pauly."
To his family, that meant to help St. Francis revamp the baseball field that hadn't seen a renovation for years on end. So, with the money Sgroi left behind, and the money donated in his memory by his friends and family, the school will break ground this summer on resurfacing the entire field, and providing a new backstop, dugouts, and scoreboard along with it.
And because of his generous donations to the school, along with all the time he put into the program during his life, St. Francis will name the field in Jeff Sgroi's memory.
As for this season, the Red Raiders have dedicated the entire season in Sgroi's memory, having gotten 'JMS 25' etched into their hats and warmups, along with hanging his No. 25 jersey by the backstop of every game they've played in.
Click play above for the full story on Sgroi, and just how much he meant to the Red Raiders program.