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4th Annual Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament a Success

This year’s Ryan Coyle Tournament was held on August 5 at the Bellmawr Recreation Center and the turnout was “awesome,” said Kyle Wright, the tournament organizer.

Coyle passed away in 2012 from injuries he sustained after being punched at a concert.

Wright and Coyle were childhood friends. Both attended Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School and Gloucester Catholic.

Looking for a way to keep his close friend’s memory alive, Wright initially sold t-shirts in Ryan’s name with the proceeds being used to fund scholarships for baseball players.

As a way of making a greater impact, he held the inaugural Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament in 2014.

Prior to the start of this year’s games, Wright acknowledged 2017 recipient, Joseph Liscio, who threw out the first pitch to 2014 recipient, Jake Gillis.

From left: Jake Gillis, 2014 Ryan Coyle Scholarship Recipient, Kyle Wright, and Joe Liscio, the 2017 Ryan Coyle Scholarship recipient.

Wright said to determine who receives the scholarship each year, the committee looks at Gloucester Catholic’s roster to see who is going on to play college baseball. This year, it was the whole team, Wright said. “It’s tough. We try to pick the kid that represents Ryan in the best way.”

Speaking more about the selection process, Wright said: “We talk to the coaches and their peers and we go by passion. Who is passionate about baseball? Who is the funniest and most caring and always having a great time on the field because that’s how Ryan was.”

Coyle read aloud from a letter from Liscio that stated Liscio is “very honored to receive the Ryan W. Coyle Memorial Scholarship.”

Although Liscio did not know Ryan personally, Liscio wrote: “I am positive that we both share the same passion for baseball.”

Liscio plans to further his education at Misericordia University and will “dedicate my time to the sport that we both love. The scholarship money is greatly appreciated and I will always keep Ryan in my thoughts and prayers especially when I am on the field.”

Wright said the annual softball tournament is something he wants to keep going “forever.”

This year’s tournament raised approximately $7,500. Ryan’s mother, Ginny Coyle, expressed her gratitude and is overwhelmed by all of the support.

Dennis Coyle, Joe Liscio & Ginny Coyle

Photo Gallery of the 2017 Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament by SJO:

 

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3rd Annual Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament Raises $7,000 for Scholarship Fund

A jokester who was always laughing.

That’s how Kyle Wright describes his childhood friend, Ryan Coyle.

Growing up in Bellmawr, the pair played baseball and basketball together at Bell Oaks and remained tight during their days at Gloucester Catholic. As Rams, Wright played football while Coyle, a left handed pitcher, stuck with baseball.

After graduating in 2010, Coyle enrolled in Camden County College and played ball for the Cougars.

A little over two years after graduating from high school, Coyle’s life was tragically cut short when he passed away on August 31, 2012 as a result of injuries he sustained from being punched at a concert.

As a way of keeping his friend’s memory alive, Wright wanted to “start something.”  So he had t-shirts made up and sold them in Coyle’s honor. The proceeds from the t-shirts were used to raise scholarship money for baseball players from Bell Oaks and Gloucester Catholic.

Because the t-shirts were such a big hit, Wright stepped it up and came up with the idea of hosting an annual softball tournament at the Bellmawr Recreation Center.

The first Ryan Coyle Memorial Softball Tournament was held in 2014. The tournament provided a way of raising even more money for the scholarship fund and also brought people together to celebrate Ryan’s life.

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All photos by SJO. The Babe Ruth field at the Bellmawr Recreation Center was re-named and dedicated in memory of Ryan Coyle.

Prior to the start of the 2014 tournament, the Babe Ruth field was dedicated and renamed the “Ryan W. Coyle Memorial Field” as a further tribute to Ryan and his passion for the sport and also for the many games he played there.

This year’s tournament took place on August 6. Since the first games were played in 2014, the tournament has grown larger and has garnered more support. The first year of the tournament, there were 11 teams registered to play. This year, there were 20 teams and games were played at two locations – at the Bellmawr Recreation Center and on the Anderson Avenue field.

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Kyle Wright prior to the start of the games. Wright thanked his mother, Fran and sister, Kaitlyn, and the many other volunteers who helped him put the tournament together.

Wright said: “[This year] was the best by far. Everything went very smoothly and we had a great time remembering Ryan. My team ended up winning the noncompetitive bracket.”

Before the start of this year’s games, Ryan’s parents, Ginny and Dennis Coyle, joined their son-in-law, Mike Ryan, in a moment of prayer.

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Ginny and Dennis Coyle stand with their son-in-law, Mike Ryan, during a moment of prayer.

Bellmawr’s own, AJ Gonzales, was an honored guest who was invited to throw out the first pitch. Wright introduced AJ as Bellmawr’s next “rising baseball star.”

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After throwing out the first pitch, “rising baseball star” AJ Gonzales takes some photographs with Kyle Wright.

Rhian Schofield sang that National Anthem.

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Rhian Schofield as she sings the National Anthem.

Saturday’s tournament raised about $7,000. Gloucester Catholic’s Eric Grafton is one of this year’s recipients and additional scholarships are expected to be awarded to seven students from Bell Oaks.

Wright was humbled by the level of support shown for the tournament and expressed his thanks: “This day is very special to me and my friends, as well as Ryan’s family. The past two years when I get up here and talk about Ryan, I usually get emotional but I know Ryan wouldn’t want us all standing around crying. He’d much rather us be drinking beer and having fun. So, let’s celebrate Ryan’s life today and keep his memory alive.”

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In addition to food and other donations, lawn signs were added this year as another way of showing support for the tournament.

To see more photos from the day, click below:

Posted by South Jersey Observer on Saturday, August 6, 2016