Coach to Springfield High Player Facing Cancer: Baseball Family Is Here for You

David Bjorkgren
By
Marple Newtown and Strath Haven head coaches Rick Zimmerman, left, and Brian Fili greet Springfield's A.J. Grande.
Image via Pete Bannan, MediaNews Group.
Marple Newtown and Strath Haven head coaches Rick Zimmerman, left, and Brian Fili greet Springfield's A.J. Grande.

Strath Haven High coach Brian Fili paid an emotional tribute to Springfield High third baseman A.J. Grande at a recent Panthers’ playoff game against Marple Newtown, writes Bob Grotz for the Daily Times.

Grande was invited to throw out the first pitch, but was late because of a doctor’s appointment.

He had recently been diagnosed with cancer.

Between the first and second innings, Fili took to the public address system to give Grande encouragement.

“In the words of Jimmy Rollins, you are not alone,” Fili said. “Your Central League baseball family is here for you.”

Grande then threw home as the respectful crowd applauded.

“It’s an honor,” Grande said. “I was shocked to get a phone call to…come down here for the game and throw out the pitch today.”

Fili said Grande had just played May 17, had a great game, “and to get that news that he’s diagnosed with cancer. It’s hard.”

 “There’s more to life than just baseball. Here we are out here playing a game and the kid is fighting for his life. I hope he can battle his way through it.”

Read more at the Daily Times about Springfield High baseball player A. J. Grande.

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