The State College Spikes will celebrate the enduring spirit of one of the most inspirational individuals the world of baseball has ever known on Saturday, June 15 with Josiah Viera Night at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.
Coinciding with the Spikes' Opening Night game against the Williamsport Crosscutters (Philadelphia Phillies), Josiah Viera Night will celebrate a most remarkable life and legacy in several ways during the evening, including tributes that will extend throughout the 2019 season and beyond.
During pre-game ceremonies on June 15, Josiah's jersey and number 10 will be formally retired by the Spikes, making him the first person so honored in franchise history. In addition, Josiah's grandfather, Dave Bohner, will throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season, fulfilling a role that Josiah frequently served in during his time with the Spikes.
The ceremonies will include the opportunity for fans to join together in a moment of silence for Josiah before the game, as well as an in-game moment of celebration to emulate the joy he brought to the baseball world.
The Spikes will also wear a memorial patch for Josiah on their 2019 home jerseys. The patch consists of the initials "JV" inside a diagram of a baseball field drawn by Josiah himself several years ago.
An additional permanent memorial to Josiah within Medlar Field at Lubrano Park is also in development, with its final form to be announced at a later date.
"It is an honor and a privilege to be able to honor our friend and teammate, Josiah Viera, on Opening Night," said Spikes General Manager Scott Walker. "Josiah will be part of our team forever, and we welcome all fans and members of the Spikes family to join in the celebration of his extraordinary life here at the ballpark on June 15. We also hope that everyone will join us in remembering his legacy throughout the 2019 season and throughout the years to come."
Josiah, who fought a lifelong battle with Hutchinson-Guilford progeria, a rapid aging disease, passed away this past Christmas Eve at the age of 14. During his time as the Spikes' bench coach, Josiah helped propel the club to three Pinckney Division titles and New York-Penn League championships in 2014 and 2016.
Josiah was also the recipient the 2014 Harry Mitauer Good Guy Award, presented by the St. Louis Baseball Writers Association of America chapter, and received a special commendation recognizing his impact at all levels of the game from Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner at the 2015 Baseball Winter Meetings.
More activities on Opening Night, presented by PSECU, include a Schedule T-Shirt Giveaway for the first 500 fans, a Schedule Magnet Giveaway for the first 500 fans, a fantastic post-game FIREWORKS show, and the first edition of LuCKy's Kia Lease Giveaway, presented by Lion Country Kia.
Tickets for Opening Night, as well as all 38 games on the Spikes' 2019 home schedule, are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online at StateCollegeSpikes.com, by phone at (814) 272-1711, or in person at Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Tickets are available by phone and in-person from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to the end of the game on Saturday, while fans can buy and download tickets 24/7 online.
Season seat memberships, Flex Books, Value Plans and an array of group and hospitality options for the 2019 season are currently on sale by calling the Spikes at (814) 272-1711. Additional information on all club ticketing options, as well as team news and schedule info, can be viewed at StateCollegeSpikes.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.