April 14, 2016

Previous UND.com Stories On Aoki – Frates Connection

May 12, 2015

May 4, 2015

November 12, 2014

September 30, 2013

By Russell Dorn

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – After outstanding success the past three seasons, the University of Notre Dame baseball team is set to host its fourth annual ALS Game with funds going directly to the Pete Frates #3 Fund at 3:05 p.m. (ET) Saturday at Frank Eck Stadium when the Irish welcome in Frates’ Boston College Eagles following the Notre Dame Blue-Gold spring football game.

Frates, who current Notre Dame head coach Mik Aoki coached at Boston College from 2004-07, was diagnosed with Amyotrphic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or Lou Gehrig’s Disease in 2012, and has been battling the disease — while raising awareness around the world — ever since.

The disease, which causes weakness, speech problems and loss of motion among other severe symptoms, can become fatal within years of its onset. Yet despite his grim diagnosis, Frates has stood resolute in his determination to fight the disease and has been a source of inspiration for all who know him, chief among them his former coach.

“Pete and I came to BC together as I was in my first year as an assistant coach and Pete was a freshman,” said Aoki. “He was a really talented athlete that grew into a good baseball player. When I was promoted to head coach he was my first captain. He was an inspirational guy that always had a glass half full mentality. He played with a great deal of energy and had a passion for Boston College, his teammates and baseball. So for me personally and all those that are close to Pete, it was devastating that someone like that with so much zest for life could be diagnosed with this disease.

“We’ve wanted to use this game through the years to raise some much-needed funds for Pete. He has been a champion of the ALS cause and has raised a ton of awareness, but obviously he has some mounting medical costs and some things he needs in order to function on a daily basis – from nurses to new technology that helps him continue to communicate.”

In the summer of 2014, the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge was inspired by Frates and quickly spread around the globe, raising in the 100’s of millions of dollars towards efforts to find a cure for the disease.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has now become an August staple until a cure is discovered.

For the fourth year in a row, the Irish will do their part in spreading awareness about Pete’s fight while generating funds to help Frates as well as others fight the disease.

Saturday will be another fun day for all involved. It will start with John Frates – Pete’s dad – and Andrew Frates – Pete’s brother – throwing out the first pitch and will conclude with the custom-designed Under Armour jerseys the Irish will wear going up for auction on UND.com.

In addition, for those that live within driving distance of campus, Aoki and his wife Sue will play host to a Pints for Pete event that is set for May 5 at Brothers Bar & Grill on Eddy Street in South Bend. All are welcome to come raise a glass for Pete and all victims of ALS. Donations are accepted – but aren’t required – to attend.

For the first time, Notre Dame students are hosting their very own Pints for Pete event, which will take place at The Blarney Stone (Finny’s) in downtown South Bend the same day (May 5).

Anyone wishing to donate money to the Pete Frates #3 Fund that can’t make the game or the Pints for Pete event or doesn’t wish to participate in the jersey auction can read more about Pete and donate directly at petefrates.com.

The Irish (18-12, 6-7 ACC) and the Eagles are set to play a critical three-game Atlantic Coast Conference series this weekend on what appears to be a beautiful South Bend weekend. Admission is free for the entire weekend. All three games will be available through ESPN3, WatchND’s free audio broadcast or live stats. Links for all three are on the schedule page at UND.com/NDBaseball.

For more information on the Notre Dame baseball, follow the Irish on Facebook (/NDBaseball), Twitter (@NDBaseball) and Instagram (notredamebaseball).

Russell Dorn, athletics communications assistant director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 2011 and coordinates all media efforts for the Notre Dame volleyball, rowing and baseball programs. A native of Greenwood, South Carolina, Dorn graduated from Furman University in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in history before earning his master’s degree in sports communications from Georgia State University in 2011.