This past season, Casey Mack was the starting third baseman for the Connecticut FCIAC champion Golden Eagles of Trumbull High School. He earned all-conference honors, postseason awards and was signed to play collegiate baseball at the Community College of Rhode Island. The school labeled Casey a “prized recruit.” It turns out CCRI is getting more than just a talented baseball player. They’ve landed a humble, selfless and inspirational individual who is a champion of sportsmanship.
At the end of a game this spring between Trumbull and Bridgeport Central High School, Casey approached Ely Drysten, the opposing team’s head coach, and asked if he could have a word with him. Drysten thought maybe Casey wanted to talk about getting into college or All-State voting. Casey, unbeknownst to Drysten, had something far nobler on his mind. Drysten recounted the conversation for the Stamford Advocate: “He came up to me and said, ‘I love the way you coach and the way your team plays with such heart and passion.’ We didn’t play well. We made four errors and I was really down. Then, he said he purchased a couple of bats for us. I was taken aback. He took out two brand-new bats with the wrappers still on them. I teared up. Here is a captain of one of the best teams in the [conference] and he’s giving back to us.”
The bats Casey purchased were expensive. When Drysten told Bridgeport Central’s athletic director what happened, he discovered that Casey had done the same thing for two other high schools. The teams Casey chose faced budget constraints and hadn’t been as successful on the field as Trumbull. Casey never told his own coach about what he had done, nor would he disclose the actual cost of the bats he purchased. He would only say his effort was funded by birthday and Christmas money along with a part-time job. Casey told the Advocate, “We’ve played against the teams the last three years and I always wanted to do something to help them, ever since I was a sophomore. I just have a lot of respect for them. They come out and play hard every day against the best teams in Connecticut. I wanted them to know I respect them and what they do is amazing. The intensity they show is amazing. I’d be proud to be on one of those teams.”
Trumbull head coach Phil Pacelli had nothing but high praise for his former player. He was literally at a loss for words. “I was speechless. That’s the kind of kid he is. Big heart. Unselfish. Ninety-nine percent of the kids would have blown the money on themselves.” When Casey heard of his Musial Awards selection, he expressed a wish that his act will inspire others to give back. “I really hope this gets people to also try to make a difference…to help people not as fortunate as us.”