By JOHN CORYER
---- — PLATTSBURGH — Former area high school baseball standouts Brian Mehan and Joey Painter were teammates on the Plattsburgh State team.
Tonight at Lefty Wilson Field, the ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Painter as part of “Brian Mehan Be The Match Day.”
The Cardinals will host SUNY Canton at 7 p.m. in their final game of the 2013 season in honor of Mehan, who lost his battle with cancer five years ago.
The event was held for the first time last year and Painter helped Plattsburgh coach Kris Doorey with organizing it.
“Joey and Brian were teammates here at Plattsburgh State,” Doorey said. “They were friends and Joey was greatly affected by Brian’s passing. It’s almost like Brian is looking out for Joey.”
Painter played his high school baseball at AuSable Valley Central School, while Mehan attended Plattsburgh High School.
Ironically, Painter joined the Be The Match Registry, which donates bone marrow to a needy patient. And Painter became a perfect match for someone.
“Joey became a perfect match for a man in his 40’s, who has two kids,” Doorey said. “He saved the man’s life.
“Last year, Joey helped me organize the event and now this happens. It’s a great story.”
Prior to the game tonight, members of the Plattsburgh baseball team will be in the Angell College Center Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. hosting a Be The Match Drive.
Members of the Plattsburgh State Student/Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) will host a similar drive at Wilson Field from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Joining the Be The Match Registry to easy to do and pain free. Volunteers simply need to swab the inside of a person’s cheek for 30 seconds. On average, one of every 540 members of the Be The Match Registry in the United States will go on to donate bone marrow to a patient.
The Cardinals will pair up with local Special Olympians to take the field and Painter will be escorted to the mound by Mehan’s family.
There will be a number of raffles taking place during the game, with proceeds being divided evenly between the Be The Match Foundation and the Brian P. Mehan Memorial Scholarship Fund at Plattsburgh High.
“There will also be a concession stand available,” Doorey said. “I want to thank everyone who is helping out to make the evening a success, including the City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department.”