John Pellegrino

Baseball has been a constant in Chariho senior John Pellegrino’s life — until this spring, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close and spring sports seasons were canceled. | Harold Hanka, The Westerly Sun

WOOD RIVER JCT. — John Pellegrino has been at this for some time.

It started at Crandall Field in Ashaway — T-ball in the grass. Then it was AAA and Majors in Chariho Little League. And then AAU with the Rhode Island Stars, Tri-Town Thunder and the South County Riptides.

Even though Pellegrino plays basketball, baseball is his sport. Last season, he hit .346 while playing shortstop or second base when he wasn't pitching. He had a 2.10 ERA with an 0-2 record.

"I was anticipating a very good year for the team. I was looking forward to playing with Liam Goldstein at second base, seeing what we could do up the middle," Pellegrino said.

"We had a lot of good hitting. Our only concern was our pitching, but I think some of us could have stepped up."

Unfortunately for Pellegrino, he can only talk in the past tense about the season — it ended before it started due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"I was looking forward to being one of those seniors that my teammates could look up to and count on," Pellegrino said.

Ryan Snow, Mark Wightman, Joe Heath, Josh Smithey and Riley Culotta were also returning seniors for the Chargers.

"I've grown up playing with these guys. It's sad not be able to play our last year together," Pellegrino said. "I just miss playing. It was fun. And we are not getting our Senior Night."

Pellegrino said it was upsetting to learn there would be no baseball season.

"As soon as school got canceled, I thought it was coming," Pellegrino said. "When I actually heard it, it made me sad. I've been looking forward to being a senior a long time now, and corona took it away."

Pellegrino said he will attend CCRI for two years and hopes to one day be a psychologist in the criminal field.

Pellegrino is hopeful he will still get to play in a Chariho uniform before leaving the school. Westerly and Chariho are hoping to play a three-game series in the summer to benefit those affected by the pandemic.

The coaches have agreed to the series, but it remains to be seen if it will take place.

Pellegrino said he's learned some things during his time at Chariho.

"I've learned not be too comfortable and being able to adjust," he said. "Three out of my four years, we had a different coach. And last year I was forced to play a bunch of positions that I was not used to playing."

Pellegrino said his best memory as a Chariho player was when he pitched two innings of a playoff game during the 2018 Division II championship season.

Pellegrino said he didn't attend his junior prom in anticipation of going to the senior prom this spring, but because of virus concerns, there won't be one. He will also miss a number of other events associated with being a senior.

"We [had planned to] walk through the school wearing our caps and gowns. And we were going to be opening up a time capsule at the middle school from our eighth grade year," Pellegrino said.

But there was one event that he was looking forward to as much as any other, it seemed. Chariho graduates get to return to their elementary schools and spend time with younger students.

"We usually go at recess time and we get to play kickball with the elementary kids," Pellegrino said.

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