Perfect Fit: Del Greco’s boys at home with Andover Little League stars | Sports
ANDOVER — At the best of times, it can be tough to be the “new kids in town.” Getting used to a new community and a new school is always a challenge.
Trying to make the transition in the midst of a historic pandemic would be overwhelming for most young people.
Fortunately, for Marco and Theo Del Greco, they speak a universal language: sport. They are especially fluent in baseball and basketball dialects.
This week, the Del Greco twins will lead Andover to the Little League Major Division (12 & Under) Sectional Tournament in Lynn, the next stop on the “Road to Williamsport”. The side, managed by their father, Greg Del Greco, are coming off a 6-3 win over North Reading in the District 14 Championship game.
The Andover team will be looking to take care of some unfinished business. Almost every member of this year’s team was part of the under-11 team that qualified for the state championship game in 2021. That team was led by Todd Murray, with Del Greco and Andy Goldstein as assistant coaches. The same trio lead the Under-12 team this year, with Del Greco at the helm.
If Andover can win the section, he will move on to the four-team state tournament, July 27-31 in Braintree.
The Del Greco family moved from Stoneham to Andover in 2020, just as the Covid 19 pandemic was in full swing. While Greg and Sabrina Del Greco have the means to enroll their twins and eldest son Nico (now 14) in the school of their choice, they have decided that their boys will attend public schools in Andover. In fact, it’s one of the reasons they chose to settle in Andover.
“The reason we moved here was because of the schools and sports programs. We have been really impressed with the schools in Andover,” said Greg. “My wife and I went through the public school system and we thought it was the best environment for our sons.”
Not that the transition was easy. At first, the schools were on distance learning, which made it very difficult for the boys to get to know the teachers and classmates at their new school. When in-person learning resumed, there were again mandatory masks, which added to the challenges of forming friendships.
But that’s where Del Greco’s mastery of the ‘sport’ provided a valuable lifeline. Participation in local basketball and baseball leagues brought the family into contact with people who would quickly become close friends.
“To say how welcoming and friendly the people of Andover have been to the boys and all of our family is really an understatement,” Greg said. “And playing sports helped the boys get to know a lot of their classmates well. It’s such a great group of kids for the boys to hang out with. and that’s what I wanted for them, to be surrounded by good children and good families.
Not only did the Andover sports community welcome the Del Grecos as participating members, they also recognized the background and coaching experience that Greg Del Greco brought to the table. A former three-sport (baseball, basketball, football) star at Stoneham High, Greg led the Spartans to a state baseball championship as a junior. He would go on to play football for Brown University.
As his sons grew up, Greg took an active role in coaching them at all levels. He says he cherishes the ability to watch the boys, up close, develop as athletes.
“The best part is you get that sense of pride when they do well,” he said. “I can see the fruits of their labor. They work so hard, and I work them hard.
Greg said he has had no problem switching from “dad mode” to “coach mode” when it comes to leading a team his boys play for.
“I coached them for so long, I really treat them like any other player,” he said. “If one of them doesn’t hit, he knows he’s out of the game.”
The Andover Little League board certainly liked what they saw from Del Greco as a coach. After serving as an assistant to Todd Murray on the 2021 Under-11 All-Star Team, the board elected him manager of the Under-12 team this season.
Marco and Theo both played key roles in the team’s tournament. Both twins throw, while Marco plays outfield and Theo catches and plays first base.
But the Andover team is not a two-man show. The team made major contributions offensively and defensively in their win over North Reading. Receiver Gideon Barnes hit a home run, center fielder Max Wilson stole a home run from a North Reading batter and Aiden Deluca and Evan Starr came off the bench to make pinch runs.
In addition to their District 14 title, many of the players (including the Del Greco twins) are also part of the 12-under Andover squad that won the Bay State Summer League Championship with a win over North Reading on Sunday. .