Lindsay Cahill’s idea for her Girl Scouts Gold Award project served a dual purpose: It was both practical and a tribute to her late Shoreham-Wading River softball teammate and fellow catcher, Melissa Marchese.
Cahill’s project entailed the building of helmet cubbies and bat racks for both home and away dugouts on SWR’s newly renovated varsity field. (The varsity and junior varsity fields were switched this year). Cahill, a junior, also created a sign with the wording “Mel Wins” at the bottom of it.
The new-look dugouts were unveiled at a ribbon-cutting ceremony May 6 to inaugurate the field before the team’s first game since Marchese’s death. SWR beat Amityville, 22-0.
In addition, the Wildcat Athletic Club donated an equipment shed and a boulder with an etched plaque in Marchese’s honor that reads, “Our Catcher … Our Captain … Our Hero.”
Among those in attendance at the ceremony were school officials and Marchese’s parents, Marie and Charlie, who threw the ceremonial first pitch into Cahill’s catching mitt. “It was truly, truly a special day,” said Cahill.
Marchese died from injuries suffered in a car crash in June, 2019, on the eve of her high school graduation. She was 18.
Marchese undoubtedly would have heartily approved of the project.
“I’m very pleased with how it turned out,” Cahill said. “I thought it was a great way to keep Melissa’s memory alive. She was always the one who made the comments in the dugout that our bats were all over the place and our helmets were all over the place and we were constantly stepping on one another’s things, so I thought that was a smart idea, not only to keep the dugout clean, but also to help keep a piece of her with us.”
Marchese intended to play for the University of Hartford, which awarded her a scholarship.
Cahill said Marchese was a mentor to her when she joined the team as an eighth-grader. She remembers Marchese’s explosive bat and cannon for an arm.
“Watching her play, I learned so much from her,” Cahill said. “She was just a phenomenal player, she really was. She knew how to light a fire under us when we were getting down. She was a great teammate. She was a great person. She was someone I looked up to, and I still continue to look up to her.”