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A Sonny Part Of Conestoga's State Title

Sonny DiMartini holds a special place to his Conestoga teammates.

Win or lose, ’s state championship baseball team never deviated from the routine. After each game the whole team would line up down the third-base line, catcher Scott Williams would stay at the plate, and Sonny DiMartini would hit an imaginary ball, then run the bases, receiving a pat on the back from the Conestoga team as he barreled around third base and came crashing into the waiting arms of Williams, who would cushion Sonny’s landing.

DiMartini holds a special place in the heart of his teammates. The Conestoga sophomore has Down Syndrome and has been what Conestoga coach John Vogan calls his “fourth coach.” What Sonny has truly been is an inspiration to the Conestoga team. Sonny’s been running the bases the last six years.

“Back when I started coaching, Sonny was just a little guy; we let him run the bases after every game and what makes it special is the reaction of the other teams, which I make it a point to tell the other coaches and players how much it means to us and Sonny,” Vogan said. “It was Sonny who came up with the idea that he has to knock down Scott Williams at the end. It doesn’t matter if we win or lose, we always let Sonny run the bases. It’s a real lesson for the kids, you lose, you lose, but there are some things that are more important than winning or losing. The kids realize how lucky they are to have Sonny, and I think Sonny realizes how important he is to the team.”

Sonny occasionally eats lunch with the Conestoga team in the school cafeteria. He's usually the loudest on the team bench during games. It's hard to miss him. Vogan plans on awarding Sonny with a state championship medal as a member of the team.

“Sonny really is a special kid; we can see how much it means to Sonny being around the team; he’s a part of the team,” said Shea Rosadino, the Pioneers’ third baseman and one of the senior team captains this season. “We realize what we give to Sonny, which is pretty as much as he gives to any of us.”

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