As part of North End Against Drugs (NEAD) Family Fun Festival, the crew from North Adams traveled to the North End in early August for the LaFesta Baseball Exchange in Boston.
With Puopolo Park under construction, for the first time in 29 years, the LaFesta Exchange in Boston was played on different fields. Game 1 in the North End was actually played in Memorial Stadium in East Boston. It was a glorious night and a preview of playing on a turf field. Both teams received commemorative medals as a souvenir. The home team won the game, but the friendship and sportsmanship along with the overall spirit of the Exchange carried the evening.
After the hard-fought game, the two teams returned to the North End and had a great Italian dinner at the Nazzaro Center. Served by Patricia Romano, Ann Fitzgerald, Officer Teddy Boyle, Olivia Scimeca, Yvonne Igoe, and Vanessa Igoe, the players, coaches, and organizers enjoyed the meal and shared some stories of the game and the previous weekend in the Berkshires! After dinner, the players from both teams headed down the feast, a real treat for the kids from the western part of the state.
On Sunday morning the venue shifted to Ryan Park in Charlestown where both teams enjoyed breakfast in the park before finishing up with another good game of baseball. The boys from out west took game two on another great weekend of baseball.
MVPs were chosen from each team at both the series in North Adams back in July with the awards named after George Canales, and here in Boston with the awards named after Robert DeCristoforo. In the North End games, the North End MVP winner was Peter Shea and the North Adams MVP winner was Tristan Gardner.
Next year is the 30th anniversary of this wonderful Baseball Exchange and there will be some great surprises in store at both locations! A special thank you to the Nazzaro Center for letting us use the center for dinner and Mangia, Mangia for a delicious dinner at an affordable discount.