Reading Little League and Reading Youth Softball celebrated the dedication of two new batting cages this past Sunday, May 20. The event, initially planned for April 29 as part of the Little League Baseball Parade, was rescheduled due to rain.
According to Reading Little League President Tom Fratto, the cages are “top of the line” with added turf and additional netting. One of the cages was dedicated in memory of Nick Diranian and the other in memory of Ernie Mello. Both were long-time supporters of Reading youth sports; Mello having served as president of both Reading Little League Baseball and Reading Pop Warner Football. Mello’s son Stephen was present for the celebration, commenting “I’m glad for [the Diranians] and happy for my family.”
The previous cage, built in 1992, had also been dedicated to Mello but fell into disrepair in recent years. Reading Little League recognized this need and raised the funds to build new cages. Fratto suggested that the new cages will last for twenty-five to thirty years. “This is a real community day to honor Mr. Diranian and Mr. Mello,” former Reading baseball coach Pete Moscarello said, adding “Anytime you use these cages you are honoring these two gentlemen.”
The cages are located at Morton Field in the Birch Meadow Complex, and are available for the high school baseball and softball teams, as well as for players on Babe Ruth League, Reading Little League, and Reading Softball teams. The cages are also available to the public at any time the field is not otherwise occupied, “Anyone can use them,” Moscarello stated.