Two young men have spent years playing baseball while also volunteering in the community and competing academically. For all of their endeavors, James Augustine and Carmen Marinucci have been awarded the 2014 Chuck Schafer scholarships from Boardman Community Baseball.
The winners will be honored and receive their checks for $2,500 during the 11th annual Chuck Schafer Scholarship Tournament on June 27-29 at the Fields of Dreams on McClurg Road in Boardman.
''When I stepped onto the Field of Dreams at five years old in my bright yellow Creekside Beverage jersey, I never knew that my experience at Boardman Community Baseball would shape me into who I am today,'' said Marinucci in his scholarship-winning essay. ''Character, discipline, teamwork, a great work ethic, and leadership are just some of the values that BCB taught me in my 12 years in the league. Every time I stepped onto the field, I felt a sense of pride for my community and for my team.''
The characteristics Marinucci learned through baseball helped the future mechanical engineering student create an in-depth resume during his high school
career. In addition to baseball, he played basketball and football at Boardman High School, as well as running cross country for three years. Academically, he participated in the Italian Club, Medical Careers Club, Chess Club, History Club and student government.
''One of the greatest parts of the entire experience was the brotherhood built with my teammates throughout the years,'' Marinucci said.
But the 12 years he spent in BCB only inspired him to reach out to more fellow students as a member of the Link Crew, Big Spartan Little Spartan and as a founder of the Spartan Spirit Crew. He also helped in the community, where Marinucci has volunteered at Boardman Rotary events, served veterans during a National Honor Society community lunch, attended Boardman Civic Club meetings and worked on Sen. Joe Schiavoni's campaign.
For Augustine, losing can be winning.
''Throughout my Little League career I have given up the winning run, made an error that cost my team the game and struck out several times, and that is precisely why I succeed,'' Augustine noted in his essay. ''I was able to keep my head up, learn from my mistakes and go out the next time and redeem myself. I was able to pick myself up and dust myself off after something did not go the way I wanted to or had anticipated. My failures are the reason I have thrown a great game, made a diving catch and hit a home run. The impact of failing is the strongest motivation to succeed.''
There is no doubt Augustine succeeded at Boardman High School, offering his time and talents to the Spirit Crew, Social Studies Club, Science Club, Spanish Club, Math Club and Link Crew. Augustine also spent hours on the golf course for the BHS golf team, and on stage as a member of the orchestra.
The future investment banker said, ''I have to apply the lessons I learned from Little League, keep my head up, learn from my mistakes and make sure I perform better and achieve what I want the next time I just need to learn from my mistakes in order to be successful.''
The annual scholarship honors the memory of Chuck Schafer, the talented architect who designed the Fields of Dreams complex to cater to the children and families who love Little League baseball as he did. Boardman Community Baseball holds the Chuck Schafer Memorial baseball and softball tournament each year to raise money for the scholarship fund.
Applications for the scholarship are accepted through the spring each year. Eligible students must have participated in BCB for at least five years and be a senior with at least a 2.75 GPA. Additional information can be found at www.boardmanbaseball.com or call Rick Schafer at 330-507-3598.