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