Baseball Signs New Member to the Team

Brett Johnson, Sports Editor

The RWU baseball team added a special member to their team Thursday. Zach Silva, a 12-year-old from Barrington, R.I., signed a ceremonious letter of intent to join the team for the 2019 season.

Through the nonprofit Team IMPACT, Silva and the Hawks partnered together over the summer. According to a press release from Team IMPACT, the national organization has connected approximately 1,600 children that are “facing serious or chronic illnesses” with over 500 colleges and universities since 2011. RWU has not participated in this program since its inception in which men’s soccer and women’s basketball had connections.  

“[This is the] first time a baseball team has done it. We’re in the area where the number of matches weren’t that high so it took us a couple years to get a match,” Head Coach Jason Tower said. “We’re really excited about it. We hope we can be an impact on him and I’m sure he’s going to be an impact on us as well.”

The baseball team held a mock press conference for the introduction of Silva to the team. Accompanied by his two moms, Lisa and Albertina, Zach was welcomed by high-fives and cheers from his new teammates as he entered the conference room. Silva was diagnosed with Mitochondrial Disorder in 2007 through a muscle biopsy. The United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation defines the disorder as complications with the mitochondria, the energy producer of the cell. Since the cell produces low energy, the cells are susceptible to injury and even death, which can cause entire organ systems to fail.

“He was just delayed from birth. He didn’t lift his head up until he was nine months old…so it has been ongoing,” Lisa Silva, Zach’s mom said. “He went through early intervention, he had specialized instruction, lots of therapy, he has about 12 doctors, he’s had several surgeries, and hospitalized several times. Lately, he’s been doing good, but fatigue is a big factor and seizures are a big factor.”

Despite his disease, Silva is outgoing and energetic. Baseball is just one of the four sports he plays throughout the year. Lisa mentioned that her and Silva’s other mom, Albertina, try to keep him as active as possible through sports, so being with the RWU team will keep him engaged.

As a member of the squad, Silva will attend practices, games, events and other team activities. 

“He’s just really excited. He loves being part of a team. He loves being the center of attention. He’s very personable and outgoing. I think it’s just great for him to be around all the guys and I think it’s good for them,” Lisa said. “He’s just a happy kid and he just has a never give up attitude.”

Once Silva officially became a Hawk, he received his own jersey and baseball hats. In true press conference style, his new teammates asked him various questions from his favorite video game they will play together to which ice cream flavor he’ll order when the team goes out for a treat. They are excited to have him along for the season.

“It’s what inspires you to play baseball…It inspires you to go out there and work your hardest every day and be thankful for what you have,” senior Eli Camner said.