Of the countless kids David Guglielmo has interacted with during his 34 years as a teacher in the Providence Public School System, as well as 27 years coaching baseball, the positive influence and openness of Wilcar Moreno’s personality has proved to be a cut above the rest.
Currently the varsity baseball head coach at Mount Pleasant, Guglielmo threw down the proverbial gauntlet regarding one of his former players – someone whose life was cut short at age 22 following a battle with cancer. Try crossing paths with an individual who didn’t have something flattering or complementary to say about Moreno, who passed away on April 23.
Baseball honors Wilcar Moreno today🏴☠️
— CorsairCrew (@UMassDAthletics) April 30, 2022
“I’ve never come across a student or an athlete where 100 percent of everyone you talked with said the same thing,” observed Guglielmo. “The first thing out of everyone’s mouth was about what a good kid he was. He never raised his voice. You never saw him get into an argument or act in a negative way. The kid was always positive. It was remarkable.
“It sounds like redundancy, but it’s amazing how many people have the same opinion of this one kid,” Guglielmo added.
MT. PLEASANT BASEBALL TEAM HAS A SURPRISE WAITING FOR HEAD COACH DAVID GUGLIELMO AFTER KILTIES CAPTURE THE 2018 RIIL DIVISION III TITLE
An All-Division selection during his junior and senior seasons at Mount Pleasant, Moreno’s dominance as a pitcher and hitter was instrumental in the Kilties capturing the Division III title in 2018 – the program’s first championship in 57 years. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Moreno proved to be a quick study when it came to immediately taking to his new surroundings in Providence after moving from New York.
“His strength was fitting in. With that smile and that personality, he was the life of the party. You couldn’t help but love the kid,” said Guglielmo. “He was anxious to get started with us. He was the definition of commitment – the rare kid who was talented, coachable, and starving to learn more and more. He played with such enthusiasm that I often thought he was like a little kid trapped in a big kid’s body.”
It meant the world to Moreno to be afforded the opportunity to continue playing baseball upon graduating from high school in 2019. The transition to UMass Dartmouth proved seamless as the same traits and characteristics that made him a bona fide hit at Mount Pleasant enabled him to be someone who you couldn’t help but gravitate towards. That proved particularly true when the UMass Dartmouth baseball program was in Florida for a spring trip.
“He showed us a baseball game he used to play in the Dominican Republic called Vitilla – basically wiffle ball with bottle caps and a broom stick. We would all have so much fun playing it in Florida even though we had real baseball games every day. With one small gesture by teaching us the game, he brought the whole team of 35 guys much closer than we were before,” shared Mike Sollitto, a North Providence native and senior pitcher for UMass Dartmouth.
“Wilcar was easily one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met. What made Willy stand out was the way he cared for others. He would routinely go out of his way to see how his teammates were doing no matter how he felt. He was always putting his teammates first and himself second. His constant positivity on the field and off the field was second to none. Even if there was a situation where he was not happy about not being in the lineup, he never let that get in the way of supporting his teammates,” said Sollitto.
The RIIL offers its deepest condolences to the friends and family of Wilcar Moreno Gonzalez, a 2019 graduate of Mt. Pleasant High School, where he was an All-Division baseball player. https://t.co/A70nmF9kDC pic.twitter.com/TfwXGapoFz
— RIIL (@RIIL_sports) April 28, 2022
Moreno appeared in 12 games over the 2020 and 2021 seasons before stepping away from the UMass Dartmouth program to deal with his cancer diagnosis. Even in the hospital, he continued to pepper questions regarding his Corsair teammates.
“You could have a conversation with him about anything and he would not bring up his situation. He would always ask about others first. Willy seemed totally unfazed about his health and never was negative about anything. What he wanted most was to simply get back out on the field with his teammates and play the game he grew up loving. He would constantly text our team and ask how everyone was doing,” said Sollitto.
Players and coaches from Mount Pleasant and UMass Dartmouth crossed paths during the wake held in Moreno’s memory.
“Everyone was so emotional over his passing,” said Guglielmo, sharing that Moreno expressed a strong desire to stage a reunion of the ’18 Kilties upon getting better.
— Prov Sports & Leader (@pslrisports) April 25, 2022
“I look back at those texts and they’re so sad to read. In sickness, he was thinking about getting together with the boys and having a good time again,” said Guglielmo.
The Kilties are planning retire No. 25 in memory of Moreno by season’s end. It would mark the first time in program history that such treatment is being bestowed. In this particular case, it’s about preserving the memory of someone who was destined to make his mark in one way or another.
“You could tell there was nothing but success in that kid’s future. Whatever he set his mind to do, he did it,” said Guglielmo.
Noted Sollitto, “His genuine kindness and selflessness will stick with me forever and I am hoping it will teach me to bring that same positivity to the people around me as he did.”