MOUNTAINSIDE, NJ - A sprinkling of rain didn’t put a damper on Mountainside Youth Baseball and Mountainside Softball Association’s opening day parade held on Saturday. Escorted by “Mountainside’s Finest,” The Governor Livingston Highlanders Marching Band led the route which began on the corner of Stony Brook and Wood Valley Road and proceeded to the ball fields behind the Deerfield School.

T-Ball players as young as five marched with their teams, proudly carrying their banners, with coaches, parents, and siblings by their sides. One of the all-girl’s team, the “Milky Ways” tossed Milky Way candy bars to neighbors along the route.  About half a dozen classic cars, as well as the Borough’s fleet of rescue vehicles, with sirens blaring, followed behind. 

Opening ceremonies at the Major League field traditionally pay tribute to the Borough’s own “angels in the outfield,” Scott Burdge, Ryan Faella, B. J. Giannone, and Tim and Tom Black. This year’s ceremonies included a memorial to Diane Cocchia McGee, beloved member of the community and mother of three, who passed away suddenly in 2016.

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Written by  B.J.’s father, Bill Giannone, and delivered by Jeanie Ruban, the tribute to “MYB’s biggest fan” read in part, “Diane was the finest example of what we should all seek to strive for.  She was a friend to everyone, and never missed a chance to show her support.  She cheered just as hard for your son or daughter, as she did for her own, and was the most positive influence to other parents and spectators.  Every success or failure was met with a positive cheer and comment. She was the ultimate cheerleader.  For years we have celebrated the lives of a few of our players that have passed.  Today we remember Diane McGee.  She will forever be our “angel in the bleachers.” 

Since 1954, countless volunteers have contributed to the success of Mountainside Youth Baseball, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for boys and girls.  For more information, please visit their website and Mountainside Softball Association

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