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The legacy of Bob Bellizzi

"They've cut their teeth on this," says Kim Bellizzi of Robby and her two other sons, Michael and Alex, who are also involved with the camp"Alex still attends as a camper and Michael works there as a counselor.

Many of his baseball players from St. Rose work at the camp each summer. According to Casey O'Connor, the St. Rose baseball team's current coach, the camp employs about 10 to 12 players each summer both past and present.

It seems like once players had the chance to work with Bellizzi, they took advantage of as many opportunities as they could to continue doing so. Casey O'Connor, for instance, worked with Bellizzi as a baseball player on his team, a coach at the summer camp, and as a coach with him at St. Rose. O'Connor took over the team after Bellizzi's death.

"We're a very tight family, even to this day," says Casey O'Connor.

"I took the job and I was very appreciative to keep his legacy going. All the coaches on my staff are graduates of the college of St. Rose and all played in the program. We tried to keep the [program going] because it was something that was so good and so special"we tried to keep it as close to what it's been as we can," says O'Connor.

O'Connor began working with Bellizzi in 1994, and worked with him straight through until his passing. O'Connor reminisced about his time spent with Bellizzi and how he was more than just a coach.

"He signed on and took great interest in his players, and actually many players responded to him almost like a second father," says O'Connor.

He was understanding when it was appropriate (if his players made a mistake or two on or off the field), but he was direct and strict when he had to be.

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