On June 11, a ceremony was held at Mill Woods Park in Wethersfield to officially rename the field formerly known as the Little League Lighted Field to Ryan “Cozzy” Costello Memorial Field in memory of Ryan Costello.
Costello was a former baseball standout at Wethersfield High School before graduating in 2014 and playing at Central Connecticut State University. He was eventually drafted by the Seattle Mariners and spent time with the Minnesota Twins before his sudden death in November of 2019.
At the time of his death, Costello was 23 years old and in New Zealand preparing for the next chapter of his hardball journey in the Australian Baseball League.
It was later determined that Costello died from Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a disorder that causes a specific problem with the electrical system of the heart.
“Sadly we all die, that is just the reality of life, but Ryan’s legacy will live on far past us,” said Tammy Costello, Ryan’s mother. “This means so much to us and I am deeply moved that even though his life was cut short, he still is getting to do good things. That is the part that is the most rewarding.”
Ryan's childhood friends Willie DelMastro, Nick Quadrato, Chris Candee and JP Tarascio and others graduates from the WHS Class of 2014 came up with the idea, before Steve Kelly and WHS baseball coach Mark Bagdasarian drafted the idea and brought it to Dan Tenney, then President of Wethersfield League, who refined it and presented it to the Town Council.
Director of Parks and Recreation, Kathy Bagley, and the rest of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board unanimously voted to proceed with the renaming process and then the Town Council passed the motion 9-0-0 on October, 18 2021.
At the council meeting, Councilor Tyler Flanigan recalled his days of playing against Ryan while the two grew up playing against each other through little league, high school, and travel ball. Flanigan remembered Ryan being a tremendous player on the field and a really good person off of it.
Matt Hacker, the President of the Wethersfield Little League, then set up June’s ceremony to make it official. The renaming was attended by family, friends, and those around the local baseball community.
Tammy Costello said her family was “deeply moved and overjoyed” about the honor, adding, “This community means so much to us. They are standing beside us and not letting Ryan just be a casualty and instead be an example and live on through his efforts.”
Following Ryan’s death, the Costello family started the RC13 Foundation, which raises awareness for Wolff-Parkinson-White (WPW). They want to let people know that WPW is a serious condition that can be diagnosed with a simple Electrocardiogram, better known as an EKG.
This October the foundation will host the 3rd annual golf tournament in honor of Ryan and annually the foundation gives out two scholarships — benefitting one baseball and one softball player at Wethersfield High School.
Earlier this year there was a large “RC13” memorial plaque that was put up under the press box at Esposito Field at WHS to honor the former Eagles’ slugger.
This November will mark three years since Ryan’s passing and the amount of positive change and impact that his memory has had on the community has been overwhelming to Tammy and her family.
“It is hard to put into words how it feels,” she said. “He gets to continue making positive change and to me that is all any of us want in the end.”
Visit therc13foundation.org for more information about Ryan and the foundation.
Sports Editor for the Rare Reminder, Glastonbury Citizen, and Rivereast News Bulletin