Grandma is ball team’s inspiration Players aiming for world title

Several Mount Si High School baseball players are taking on the best in the nation this week in Atlanta.

Several Mount Si High School baseball players are taking on the best in the nation this week in Atlanta.

The O’Brien Auto Group U16 Mickey Mantle baseball program, of which Rossco Castagno, Dustin Breshears, Tim Proudfoot, and Taylor Campbell are members, have been on a nice run as of late, and won the state Mickey Mantle title. That earned them a shot at the national championship of the Continental Amateur Baseball Association (CABA) at the organization’s World Series, being held this week in Atlanta.

Teams from all over the country, including several from the nationally well-known East Cobb program from suburban Atlanta, will be competing with O’Brien for the title.

An important part of the team’s success isn’t on the field, though. The boys are receiving a healthy dose of inspiration as they watch teammate Rossco Castagno’s grandmother fight a bigger battle.

Karen Castagno has been battling cancer for several years, and the fight has been tough. She’s faced serious complications from the disease, and suffered a major seizure and nearly fatal heart attack at her home July 7. However, she had one wish, and that was to see her grandson play again. Karen was able to do that, and the good news is she has recovered enough to be able to work part-time, stunning her doctors.

“The doctors and therapist cannot believe she has recovered in the fashion and time she currently has shown,” her son, Bill Castagno, told the Valley Record.

That said, Karen Castagno will not be able to travel to Atlanta; however, that doesn’t mean she will be kept out of the loop. Bill Castagno said that his mother will be able to keep in constant contact with the team, as many coaches and parents of team members have her number on speed dial, and Rossco’s older sister Corianne will be on hand there with the specific responsibility of texting her grandmother with play-by-play updates from each of the games.

The team has been very supportive of the Castagno family throughout this battle. A room at the Castagno house where Karen is staying is full of mementos such as cards and flowers and signed baseballs with dedications to Karen. When player Keenan Forch hit a monster home run over the center field fence at Mount Si, he signed the ball “A Home Run for Gramma Karen.”

From the first night in the emergency room, players, parents, and coaches paid visits to the hospital, and on July 18, the team welcomed her home with applause and a special plaque that read “Welcome Back to O’Brien Baseball’s #1 Fan.”

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