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Central Bucks West great baseball season dedicated to Dominic Testani


Central Bucks West's 2023 baseball season, its best ever, will forever have one name indelibly linked to it: Dominic Testani.

The team went through the season with heavy hearts after the March 18 death of Testani in a boating accident. However, squad members – especially the seniors – also used the memory and legacy of their friend, fellow athlete and classmate as an extra special source of inspiration during a campaign where they finished 20-7 and captured the school's first PIAA District One Class 6A baseball championship.

Testani worked extra hard to graduate early from CB West, in January, so that he could enlist in the U.S. Army. He was close to leaving for basic training when the rowboat he and two friends were navigating on Lake Henry near Scranton capsized and Testani drowned. His two friends survived the accident.

"Early in the season was extremely hard on our team with his passing, but with each other and the spirit of Dom living on, we were able to win games," wrote CB West catcher Max McGlone in an email from the United States Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., where he is following his late friend's Army path.

"Dom was ultimately that type of kid that everybody loved," McGlone continued. "He was passionate, outgoing, loving, supportive, funny, energetic and caring. When we won the district championship, it felt like we brought back the championship for Dom, and our friends and his family back home.

"Dom and I also shared a special connection due to us both joining the military. We always looked forward to serving together. Just like Dom guided us to be District One champions, he will also guide me through boot camp."

Pitcher Jonathan Mason, pitcher-first baseman Julio Ermigiotti, first baseman-third baseman Luke Birkhead, shortstop Kevin Bukowski and head coach Brian Weaver recently gathered at a Starbucks in Doylestown to talk about what Testani _ who did not play high school baseball – meant to them and to the Bucks' memorable season. All four players graduated from CB West in June and will continue their baseball careers in college.

While shocked and deeply saddened by Testani's death, the baseball team continued to grieve but also drew strength from each other and kept finding ways to turn the huge negative into a positive, something they felt Testani would have wanted them to do.

"Max took the initiative and made dog tags for all the baseball guys, with Dom's name and U.S. Army on them," Mason said. "Every time Max hit a homer during the season, just before he touched home plate he would take out the dog tag and look at it, and that was pretty cool."

Among other homages to Testani throughout the season were players wearing bracelets with his name, and putting his initials on their cleats. Testani's name and the inspiration that came with it were often invoked in pregame and postgame talks.

"We had a scrimmage not too long after the accident and from then on, basically, we dedicated the season to Dom," Ermigiotti said. "It wasn't anything formal, but everyone knew we were doing this for Dom. It definitely fueled us and motivated us to keep winning."

Weaver recalled the immediate aftermath of the accident and how the tragedy cemented a bond among teammates.

"The day it happened, we found out after practice," Weaver said. "We had a team bonding dinner scheduled that night, and so I just assumed a lot of guys would stay home and take care of themselves. Instead, almost all of the seniors showed up and said 'We want to be together tonight.' That was the moment I realized these guys were a pretty tight group.

"I hadn't taught Dom and hadn't known him terribly well, so I didn't think it was my place to lead any kind of grieving process. During the season, I checked in with my captains periodically and asked how the guys were doing. Is there anybody I need to pull aside and talk to? They would say 'We got it' and that's a special kind of leadership."

The players said they often thought of Testani during games, and felt like he was watching them.

"My walk-up song was one of his favorite songs, 'Smile Like You Mean It' by The Killers," Birkhead said. "Thinking about Dom always just gave us something else to play for, and play a little harder. He gave his all to everything, did everything with his whole heart, and that's what he would have wanted us to do.

"Everyone was just great sticking together. I honestly think it was one of the reasons for our success because we got a lot closer throughout the season."

Bukowski agreed, adding that Testani's tragic death evolved into something that gave the season a much deeper meaning for the entire squad.

"His death definitely brought us together as a team," Bukowski said.

Dominic Testani was a standout athlete throughout childhood, middle school and early high school, his parents Susan and Michael Testani explained in an email to The Herald. Serious injuries sustained while playing football early in his sophomore season at CB West curtailed his athletic participation for the remainder of his high school years but he took great joy in celebrating and supporting the accomplishments of schoolmates, they added.

"When medically cleared to return to full physical activity in the fall of his senior year, Dominic decided to enlist," Susan and Michael stated. "In his words, he wanted 'to be useful with my body' and he aspired to be a U.S. Army Ranger. His decision to graduate early reflected his eagerness to forge a path which would not only employ his physical and mental strength, but also make his community proud."

A foundation established in Dominic Testani's name supports enlisted young men and women in the school district, providing funds to alleviate travel expenses associated with block leave. More information can be found at

"While our hearts have been torn at the seams over the loss of Dominic, we find purpose in extending his love beyond the grave," his parents stated.

Susan and Michael Testani were very touched by the baseball team's thoughts and actions regarding their son.

"The team's decision to dedicate their season to Dominic is an expression of love, the essence of their brotherhood," they wrote. "The same young men supported Dom when he recovered from serious sports injuries and showered him with praise when he announced his enlistment. They found a certain strength in Dominic's memory and used their God-given talents to accomplish something special.

"Their resolve not only speaks to their depth as individuals, but also serves as affirmation to us all – there is something extraordinary beyond this life. It is that which keeps our family putting one foot in front of the other. After all, we are all in this life to walk each other home."

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