OLIVET, Mich. – The Olivet College baseball team drafted five-year-old Vincent Gentile from Team IMPACT at a signing ceremony Sunday, May 6 before the Comets' doubleheader against Kalamazoo College.
Gentile, who is battling a rare type of cancer, signed an official letter of intent and received his own Olivet baseball uniform at the ceremony. He was joined at the ceremony by his parents, older sister and younger brother. Vincent, who lives in the Lansing area, is now an official member of the Comet baseball team and will attend practices and games over the next year.
"We are excited to add Vincent to our team," said Olivet head coach Andy Merchant. "He is social and energetic and the guys on the team have been drawn to him in his visits. During the ups and downs of a season, having someone like Vincent around really helps give perspective and he is an amazing young man. Hopefully we can help feed Vincent's love for baseball and help him to gain confidence in social settings. We look forward to him being with our program for a long time."
Team IMPACT is a national nonprofit based in Boston, Mass. which connects children facing serious or chronic illnesses with college athletic teams, forming life-long bonds and life-changing outcomes. Since 2011, Team IMPACT has matched more than 1,200 children with more than 450 colleges and universities in 46 states, reaching over 35,000 participating student-athletes. The child joins the athletic team and the student-athletes join the child's support team. Throughout the journey, the child gains strength, camaraderie and support while the student-athletes experience lessons of courage, resiliency and perspective they can't learn in a classroom.