By ALEX SPONSELLER The Cranston Western Little League community is mourning the loss, but celebrating the life of Ernie Piscopiello, who passed away in May at the age of 80. Ernie was the father of league president Steven Piscopiello, and was a regular
The Cranston Western Little League community is mourning the loss, but celebrating the life of Ernie Piscopiello, who passed away in May at the age of 80.
Ernie was the father of league president Steven Piscopiello, and was a regular face at the facility since Steven took the reins 14 years ago.
As Steven ran the day to day operation of the league during the spring and summer months, Ernie was always there by his side and became a mainstay for over a decade. Whether it was assisting with field maintenance, the concession stand, or simply backing up his son, Ernie became synonymous with CWLL.
“He always had a smile on his face, he loved the community atmosphere. He just loved being part of it. Since I was involved, he would do anything for me, but more than that, I think my father just took a lot of satisfaction in helping people,” Steven said. “If he could put a smile on somebody’s face, it meant a lot to him. He loved being accepted by people too, he was very humble.”
Among Steven’s favorite baseball-related memories with his father included his first opening day as league president, as well as hitting the road and traveling to Williamsport, PA when the league qualified for the Little League World Series.
“The first opening day, looking over to him and seeing him choking up, having him tell me that I did a good job, that was a proud moment for me for sure. Being down in Williamsport, having him there cheering with me. Every day having him by my side meant a lot to me. The summer tournament, he relished working on the grill, helping with the 9-10 (year old) tournament and being part of that crew. There are so many things,” said Steven.
Not having the league operating due to the COVID-19 crisis took its toll on Ernie during his final months, and Steven believes that it shows how important sports are to the community as a whole.
“The league kept him alive, and not having the league this year, I firmly believe, was one of the reasons why he was not feeling well. He didn’t have the safety blanket to go to every night. He loved fishing but couldn’t go to the park, he couldn’t go to the coffee shop to see his friends, he couldn’t go to the fields, that bothered him. He was such a caring person, caring for others more than himself. This isn’t just Little League baseball, it is about family, he missed his family this year,” said Steven. “But that is why we care so much about getting back out there. These community events, they really help a person emotionally, psychologically, and for him, this league just meant so much to him. We’re happy to be playing, we’re happy to have the family back together.”
To honor Ernie, members of the league made a plaque that was presented to Steven last week and will be displayed at the facility. Steven appreciates the thoughts and outpouring of support that he has received since his father’s passing, and specifically thanks CWLL members James Sweeney, Gary Bucci and Mike Miller for helping put together the gift in his father’s memory.
“It was a shock, I just couldn’t keep myself together, I don’t know how they pulled it off,” said Steven. “When I took the presidency, he was my springboard, he was the guy behind the scenes that would show up every day and do what he could do. He was my eyes and ears for everything, both (at CWLL) and in life. The kids loved him, the volunteers loved him. His presence was big.”