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Westwood Baseball Team Honors Boy, 5, With Special Needs

Marcello helps Frankie, 5, around the bases at their Washington Township T-ball game.
Marcello helps Frankie, 5, around the bases at their Washington Township T-ball game. Photo Credit: COURTESY Kate Bargstadt

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. — Kate Bargstadt sat teary-eyed in the stands of her 5-year-old son Frankie's Washington Township T-ball game last month.

She watched nervously as Marcello, Frankie's teammate, helped guide her son — who is visually impaired and has some delays — down the baseline.

The fear of teammates' rejection had worried her. Once Frankie reached first base, however, she could finally breathe a sigh of relief.

"Frankie comes home from baseball and he's happy," Bargstadt told Daily Voice. "[The team] looks at him like one of their friends.

"He's happy and that's all that really matters."

Frankie's teammates welcomed him with open arms, just as the Westwood Regional High School freshmen team will do Wednesday.

The young athlete will be honored at the Cardinal's 4:15 p.m. game against River Dell, thanks to the efforts to Washington Township mother Phylisse Cook.

Cook, whose son, Billy, plays for the Cardinals, saw Bargstadt's Facebook post about Frankie's experience in the Washington Township Moms page. She immediately contacted high school officials.

“I felt a connection to Kate,” Cook told Daily Voice. “I felt like I wanted to reach out to her and it would be a really nice thing for the [Cardinals] to do something that was a little more wonderful for their freshmen year.”

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