BUZZARDS BAY, Mass. – The Buccaneer softball team grew by one member on Thursday night as Massachusetts Maritime Academy celebrated the Draft Day of Paetyn Tripp through a partnership with Team IMPACT.
The festivities kicked off as Paetyn, 12, arrived via police escort to Clean Harbors Gym and greeted by softballers Jill Corazzini and Kaylene Murphy. Accompanied by her family, she entered the main gymnasium through a tunnel of cheering Buccaneer athletes, emerging into the gym to a table a set up at center court. Ringing the table was the rest of the team, including Head Coach Kathleen L'Abbe, Athletic Director Mike Kelley, and Assistant Athletic Trainer Colleen Nolan.
Tri-captain Emily Bacchiocchi greeted the crowd of cadets who had come out to support the Tripp Family, which includes parents Maeghan and Joe and Paetyn's siblings Tori (age 15), Kennedy (10), Morgan (7), and Brody (5).
After signing her official Letter of Intent, Nolan, the Academy's official Team IMPACT liaison, helped Paetyn put on her new Buccaneer softball jersey. The ceremony concluded with a new team picture as the demure Paetyn smiled with her new teammates.
Paetyn was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes 3 years ago and it dictates every move she makes. She is the eighth Team IMPACT member to join an Academy athletic team and the diamond ladies have already benefited from her presence at several season-ending games.
Corazzini played a major role in welcoming Paetyn to the team earlier this spring.
"My role with Team IMPACT is to keep in touch with both the team and Paetyn's mom in order to plan events where we can all get together," explained the sophomore outfielder. "With the draft day, I was able to just pick up some things that I knew she would like and some MMA gear to wear to practice. I was also able to get her jersey No. 2—which I know is her favorite number—so that was great!"
Corazzini wore No. 2 herself this year and she and Paetyn have worked out an arrangement:
"I am definitely going to keep No. 2. Paetyn and I were talking about it and if we're both #2 then we're both always cheering each other on! Also, both of our birthdays are the 22nd so together we make 22. We think it's a perfect fit!
"She really is so sweet.," concluded the resident of Paxton, Mass. "It's just a blast getting to know her and her family and help them in any way we can. They definitely help us!"
Team IMPACT is a national non-profit based in Quincy, Mass., that connects children facing serious and chronic illnesses with local college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Through the organization, children with chronic illnesses are drafted onto local college athletic teams and become an official member of the team to support the child's physical, social and emotional needs.
Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,400 children with more than 500 colleges and universities in 47 states, reaching over 50,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team – from Draft Day to Graduation. During the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.
With All-Conference selections revealed tomorrow, make sure to bookmark www.mmabucs.com and get the inside scoop on Facebook and Twitter @mmabuccaneers. Plus, check out our new Instagram @massmaritimebuccaneers.
Gabriel Fidler, Sports Information Associate