Youngstown -- Nearly 200 supporters and friends of the Youngstown State baseball program helped make the inaugural First Pitch Breakfast on Saturday morning a tremendous success.
The fund-raising served as an opportunity to meet the 2011 Penguins baseball team, which begins its season on Friday at East Carolina. The breakfast was held at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church Banquet Hall near campus.
Attendees enjoyed a breakfast buffet and participated in a Chinese Auction prior to the event. Robb Schmidt, YSU's Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing and Promotions, served as the master of ceremonies. Scott Schulick, Chair of the YSU Board of Trustees, spoke on behalf of the university administration and wished the Penguins good luck on and off the field in 2011. YSU head coach then Rich Pasquale thanked all of the supporters who donated items for the Chinese auction, Frank Frattaroli of Belleria Pizza for his contributions and members of his coaching staff. He also discussed his excitement for the upcoming campaign and praised the character of his club.
Donors of auction items included Belleria Pizzeria, Mahoning Valley Restaurant (MVR), Baird Brothers Fine Hardwoods and Cinemark Tinseltown. Among the items were solid wooden clocks and cutting boards with carvings of YSU insignias, YSU baseball apparel, autographed baseball equipment and a Major League Baseball autograph basket.
Schmidt introduced each player on the team, and interviews were conducted with seniors Joe Iacobucci and Phil Klein as well as junior Jeremy Banks. The Chinese Auction winners were announced, and Monsignor Michael J. Cariglio, Jr. gave the benediction to close out the event.
"It is humbling to be the coach of YSU baseball with the show of support we got today," Pasquale said. "I think everyone had a great time, and it was exciting to visit with people who care about our program."
"I want people to be excited about our program. We wouldn't be able to have this event if it wasn't for the support from the community and university."