MANSFIELD - When Nick Chiocco got news of the Boston Marathon bombings during his freshman year at Stonehill College last year, he felt compelled to take action.
"I felt so terrible about the bombings that I decided I needed to do something to help the victims," Chiocco said. "I thought, 'What could be better in the summer than a home run derby?'"
So, the 20-year-old Mansfield High School grad organized a derby to raise money for The One Fund.
Chiocco wanted to hold the event at the baseball complex on Otis Street, where he has fond memories of playing as a kid. But, there were scheduling conflicts, so the competition was moved to the Mansfield High School varsity baseball field.
The event attracted 25 participants testing their skills to determine who could hit the most home runs.
The winner ended up being Chiocco, the only contestant to hit the ball past the fence. But, he gave up the top prize and bragging rights to the second-place batter, who hit the ball almost as far as he did.
Through donations from local businesses and residents, the event raised $2,000, all of which went to help the bombing victims and their families.
Chiocco is organizing the event again this year - at noon on Aug. 9 at the Otis Street baseball field. He's inviting Mansfield High School students and alumni, or anyone who wants to join in, to throw their batting helmets in the ring.
The entry fee is $10, but Chiocco is also accepting donations.
Proceeds this year will be donated to the Hearts For Hope Foundation, non-profit organization providing aid to families of patients battling cystic fibrosis. Chiocco said he chose the charity to honor his classmate Fallon Finegan, a 16-year-old Mansfield High student who died of cystic fibrosis in August 2010.
After her death, students, family and friends made bracelets and bumper stickers to remember her.
"We all still remember her and miss her. I'm wearing my bracelet right now," he said over the phone. " Hearts For Hope Foundation is just a great way to honor her."
Chiocco said there's still a lot to do before the derby next week. He's looking for experienced pitchers and additional financial donations from local businesses, as well as food and beverage donations at the event.
If you'd like to participate in the derby, come to watch or donate, contact Chiocco at email@example.com.