Pats dedicate diamond

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By ED OWENS Sports Reporter
The baseball field at Pilgrim High School was renamed and dedicated “Don Mezzanotte Field” on Saturday in honor of the longtime coach and first head coach of the Patriots baseball team.
The celebration began as Mezzanotte and his grandson helped unveil a monument in his honor near the entrance to the baseball field, near the scoreboard that now bears his name. Mezzanotte went on to throw out the ceremonial opening pitch before the Patriots' game against LaSalle.
He began his career in the Warwick Public School System in 1962 and became head coach at Pilgrim in 1963. During his 16-year career at Pilgrim, Mezzanotte helped guide the Patriots to five state championships, 12 division championships and 14 playoff appearances. He was named Rhode Island High School Coach of the Year in 1970 and New England Coach of the Year in 1974.
Mezzanotte went on to have an outstanding coaching career at Providence College, where he coached the Friars for 11 years and set the school record for most coaching wins. In his time at PC he was named Northeast Coach of the Year and Big East Coach of the Year, both in 1986, before coming back to serve as Pilgrim's athletic director from 1990-1995.
“I have received a lot of awards, but this is probably the most gratifying because of all the players that came back,” Mezzanotte said. “They've done just a wonderful job, in high school and after high school. They are leaders of the community and they have done a great job. You coach because of a love of the game. It is great to know that I have touched so many lives, but you don't coach [to get awards]. All of this other activity after is very well appreciated.”
The drive to dedicate the field in Mezzanotte's name started this past fall, as current Pilgrim Athletic Director Dom Marcone and Ed Fracassa, a coaching rival and friend of Mezzanotte, got the ball rolling for the funding and the approval necessary.
“He did a lot for this school and [the baseball program],” current Pilgrim baseball coach Ed Colvin said. “He was here for a long time and won a lot of games. He really established a Pilgrim tradition, which has become a very deep tradition. I am glad that I could be around to see this. It is a great thing. He is a great guy and we are all proud that we could be a part of it.”
A few hundred supporters attended the event and Mezzanotte addressed the crowd after the presentation of his plaque.
“Now, you have to keep this like it is,” Mezzanotte jokingly said of his monument. “I only live a mile from here and I drive around. I will be by weekly to check. The field looks great and the scoreboard wonderful. I really appreciate everything that everyone has done.”

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