BROOMFIELD — Although their crosstown relationship can technically be characterized as a rivalry, there’s little bad blood between Legacy and Broomfield.
The on-field matchups remain plenty competitive — take last year’s Class 5A state championship game, for example — but both head coaches have helped ensure a “healthy” animosity. Now less than 10 months after Broomfield edged Legacy by one run in the 2022 state title game, the two programs are uniting for a cause that goes well beyond the baseball diamond.
This past offseason, Legacy head coach Ty Giordano was approached by American Cancer Society representative Eric Martin, who works closely with the organization’s “Hope At Bat” campaign, a cancer fundraising and awareness initiative launched in conjunction with Minor League Baseball. Giordano and Hope At Bat began communicating, and with his wife in the early days of her own breast cancer diagnosis, plans to create a partnership soon formed.
“Pretty much everybody in the (Legacy) program has been affected by cancer in one way or another,” Giordano said. “They’ve either experienced it themselves within their own family, immediate family or experienced it with a friend that’s had it or a friend of the family that’s had it.”
The wife of Legacy assistant coach Joe Gaffney had also just finished her final round of radiation treatment for breast cancer, and a couple of other Lightning coaches are cancer survivors.
Giordano then reached out to Broomfield head coach Kale Gilmore regarding a potential fundraiser through the American Cancer Society culminating in a Hope At Bat game between the Lightning and Eagles on May 10 at Legacy. Gilmore, who has lost both of his parents to cancer in recent years, was quick to bring Broomfield on board.
“I’ve known what they’ve been going through and anything that I can do personally to help him and them and others, I know our Broomfield High School family and baseball family is more than willing to do that,” Gilmore said. “There’s a lot of energy around it on our side, too. It was a pretty impactful conversation that I had with him (Giordano) and just excited to do whatever we can.”
The campaign’s goal is to raise $50,000 for the American Cancer Society by selling Hope At Bat apparel through an online team store, personal pledges and corporate donations. Legacy will also be accepting donations on game day. Giordano added that following a conversation with Broomfield Mayor Guyleen Castriotta, the city plans on getting information out on the event, too.
With the help of parent committees working at each school, Giordano is confident that both programs — and what he hopes to be an effort that extends beyond the city of Broomfield — can meet the fundraiser’s goal.
“Fifty thousand dollars is a good start,” Giordano said. “We’re hoping each player works to raise $500 however they want, whether it’s a personal pledge or corporate sponsorship. Between the two programs, you got close to 120 kids. If you can do the math, you should be able to get to 50k pretty easily.”
As of Saturday afternoon, over $2,700 has been raised.
Players, too, are appreciative of the opportunity to make an impact in the community through baseball.
“It’s very special to us because we know how cancer can affect a lot of people,” said Legacy senior middle infielder Brandon Sanchez. “To (help with) a cause this great, it’s really something special to us and really brings us together.”
Sanchez believes that the initiative speaks volumes about the relationship Legacy has with Broomfield.
“The long-term rivalry is being pushed toward something better than just the game,” Sanchez said. “That’s very special coming from a player’s perspective. For it to hit so close to home, it really emphasizes the meaning of the game.”
On game day, the plan is for each varsity player and coach on both teams to have a “representative” with them who has been personally affected by cancer to throw out a unified ceremonial first pitch.
“My goal is, and what I hope happens is a couple of things: number one, we raise a lot of money for the American Cancer Society,” Giordano said. “I hope that number two, it’s an event that can utilize our rivalry to bring our community together as opposed to dividing it.”
More information and links to donate can be found on the fundraiser’s American Cancer Society page or at www.legacyhighschoolbaseball.org.