On Sunday afternoon, all 12 varsity baseball programs in the Cape Ann League will step onto the diamond at Amesbury High, uniting as one prior to a matchup between the host Indians and Masconomet Regional.
From Georgetown to Triton, the CAL will be out in full force, honoring the legacy of Amesbury student-athlete Troy Marden, a 17-year-old senior who died on February 16 in a snowmobile accident in Poland, Maine.
At a league meeting before the season, Amesbury coach Joel Brierley and Masco coach T.J. Baril decided to create the charity game in Marden’s name. Baril teaches at Amesbury Middle School. Brierley was his former baseball assistant at Masco.
“When the tragedy happened it was really a no-brainer for us,” said Baril, who had Marden as a student in middle school. “We thought we would try to do something to help. We thought having a game where as many people that could get involved would get involved.”
After deciding on a date, Baril and Brierley reached out to the rest of the Cape Ann League, asking if players and coaches could attend. Every program immediately responded, confirming their attendance, and support for the Amesbury community and the Marden family.
“The coaches wanted to show their support for something that happened like that,” Brierley said. “They wanted to come together and show support for Amesbury. It’s been really cool that the whole Cape Ann has come together this way.
Added Baril, “It was almost overwhelming how quickly and willing the other teams were. We know there’s no real way to fix what happened but we are honored to be a part of this game.”
Amesbury senior captains Blake Bennett and Logan Burrill were both football teammates with Marden, and two of his closest friends.
“I got really, really close to Troy this year,” said Bennett. “He was just a great kid. It’s been said millions of times but he is really just a great kid who always made everyone laugh.”
Marden was described in a GoFundMe Page set up in his honor as a “selfless person who genuinely did the right thing in any situation.” The fund has raised $51,724 since Feb. 18, exceeding the original goal of $48,000.
Brierley let Bennett and Burrill decide who would start the game on the mound.
“I texted Logan and said ‘It’s completely up to you if you want to start or finish it,’” Bennett said.
Together, they decided that Bennett, a righthander headed to UMass Lowell will start. Burrill will finish.
The duo, along with fellow captains Derek Doherty and Derek Beaupre, plan to speak at a pregame ceremony, scheduled to start at 1:45 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to everyone coming together for Troy,” Bennett said. “It’s bigger than the sport and it’s about doing this for Troy’s family and this commununity.
“I don’t know what I’m going to feel, but I’ve been nervous for the game.”
Brierley said he has has four seniors “who were close to Troy and a bunch of other guys who played football with him,” he said. “They want to honor him.”
The Marden family is scheduled to attend. Every player and coach involved will wear matching red T-shirts. On the front: #HereForTroy. On the back: “48,” which was Marden’s number in football.
The shirts will be available for purchase for $20. All proceeds will go to a scholarhship fund set up in Marden’s name.
“That shows unity, respect, and that we’re here for the Marden family and the Amesbury community,” Baril said. “We are such fierce competitors, but when someone is in need it’s easy to put that aside without asking questions. It should be a really special day.”
Brierley said he is inspired by how the Amesbury and Cape Ann communities have united during this difficult time.
“This shows what the community does for each other and how they come together in times like this, whether it is good or bad,” Brierley said. “We always root for each other and want each other to succeed and this is taking it to a new level.”
■ Defending Division Super 8 champion Franklin has not missed a beat in the first month of the season. The Panthers are off to an 8-0 start, using dominance in all facets of the game to earn the top spot in the Globe’s Top 20. Coach Zach Brown’s squad plays four games next week: at Framingham, followed by games against three Hockomock foes, Oliver Ames, at Foxborough and Attleboro.
■ Boston College sophomore Chris Galland, who played high school baseball at Lincoln-Sudbury before doing a post grad year at Cheshire Academy, drove in a career-high four RBIs for the Eagles in a 10-5 win over Bryant on Wednesday. Galland is batting .250 with 17 RBIs in 160 at bats. Freshman Sal Frelick (Lexington), Peter Burns (Reading), Nick Couhig (Falmouth), junior Austin Batchelor (Malden Catholic), and sophomore Joey Walsh (Plymouth North), all former Globe All-Scholastic selections, also are on the BC roster.
■ North Andover three-sport standout Jake McElroy will do a postgraduate year at Proctor Academy next year. The senior is a focal point of the Scarlet Knights No. 3-ranked baseball team, was the starting point guard for the basketball team, and quarterbacked the NA football team to the D2 state title last fall.
Games to watch
Monday, Newton North at Wellesley, 3:45 p.m. — In a matchup between two Bay State Conference programs with Super 8 aspirations, the Tigers travel to the Raiders in their first matchup of the season.
Monday, North Andover at Central Catholic, 3:45 p.m. — The Scarlet Knights put their undefeated record on the line as they go on the road to the No. 7 Raiders in a MVC contest.
Monday, BC High at St. John’s Prep, 4 p.m. — Perennial powers of the Catholic Conference take flight Monday afternoon in Danvers. This could determine the league champion.
Wednesday, Braintree at Natick, 7 p.m. — A Wednesday night game under the lights as the Red Hawks will take on a Wamps’ program that has dominated the Bay State Conference.
Thursday, North Andover at Chelmsford, 4 p.m. — A tough week for the Scarlet Knights gets even tougher as another league road game has them facing a red-hot Lions team.
Karl Capen also contributed. Matt Doherty can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org