It was five years ago that the wife of East Boston baseball coach Phil Brangiforte was diagnosed with colon cancer.
And even though his team is only Division 3, for each of those years, the Jets have shown support for their coach by participating in the Strike Out Colon Cancer tournament.
“We've got a good young team,” Brangiforte said. “We’re hungry, we know we want to win and want to play. It’s about the baseball but it’s more about raising money, finding a cure for colon cancer.”
East Boston will open the fifth annual tournament against Boston Latin Saturday at noon. Malden and Newton South will play the second game, slated to begin at 3 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be Sunday.
Boston Latin also happens to be the former school of the pitcher set to start Saturday for East Boston, Mike Theriault. While Brangiforte believes this will add more incentive for the pitcher, he knows his players realize they’ll be playing for something much more important.
“One way or the other, whether it’s someone you know or a relative or somebody, you know someone that’s had some type of cancer,” Brangiforte said.
People have already started to donate, including Mayor Menino, who has provided all of the food for the event.
All proceeds will go directly to Boston Medical Center, the hospital where Brangiforte’s wife had emergency surgery five years ago.
“I almost lost her five years ago, and after that, we decided Boston Medical is real good," said the coach. "They saved her life and we wanted to give back."
Brangiforte said donations will be accepted the day of the tournament and he hopes the bleachers are filled with supporters for the cause.
July 3 will mark five years that Brangiforte’s wife has been free of colon cancer. He said she will be in the bleachers Saturday, supporting the Jets as she has the past five years.
... right after she throws the ceremonial first pitch of the tournament.
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- Justin A. Rice -- A metro Detroit native, Rice is a Michigan State University (Go Spartans!) and Northeastern University graduate. Rice lives in the South End with his dog and wife, who unfortunately attended the University of Michigan ... his wife, that is. He curates the BPS Sports Blog and is always looking to write about city athletes with great stories. Have an idea? He can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeJustinRice or @BPSspts.
- Ryan Butler -- A Rhode Island native and avid Boston sports fan, Butler played basketball, baseball and football throughout his time in Barrington Public Schools. Now currently in his middler year at Northeastern University, he joins Boston.com as a correspondent for the site's BPS coverage. Have a story idea? Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on his Twitter @butler_globe.