USA Patriots team member greet supporters during a parade at...

USA Patriots team member greet supporters during a parade at the start of their softball event on Saturday, June 15, 2024. Credit: Neil Miller

“Life without limbs is limitless.”

It's a motto the USA Patriots softball team has lived by since the program’s inception in 2011.

The Patriots — formerly known as the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team — are made up entirely of military veterans, many of whom use a prosthesis in some form. They played a doubleheader against the LI All-Stars at the Moriches Athletic Complex on Saturday, marking the team’s 10th return to Long Island.

Led by a parade of Suffolk County police officers, the Patriot Guard, Rolling Thunder riders and members of the Warrior Ranch Foundation, the Patriots’ entrance ceremony was nothing short of inspirational.

“Watching these men play at the level that they played at, running faster than us, playing better than us, all while being handicapped, shows that sometimes it really is mind over matter,” said Chris Revere, who participated on the All-Star team for the first time this weekend. “These guys are living their fullest life and their dreams just as we are. I’m so proud that I came here today to support them.”

The LI All-Stars, a group of Patriots supporters largely made up of Suffolk County lawmen, each donned the No. 6 on their jerseys. The uniforms reference the military term “I got your six,” meaning “I got your back.”

Revere is a retired New York City fireman and 9/11 first responder. With a son who completed three tours overseas, Revere’s personal connection to the military made the Patriots that much more inspirational.

“This is definitely an event that we’re going to make time for every year,” Revere said.

In the first game of the afternoon, Patriot Josh Wege hit a triple, a single and an inside-the-park home run to secure the team’s 11–8 victory (the LI All-Stars won the second game, 10-1).

Wege was serving as a military policeman in Afghanistan in 2009 when he lost both of his legs below the knee.

What the team’s supporters value more than its performance, however, is the message the Patriots aim to spread to communities across the country.

“I mean, what’s more impressive?” said Joe Bartumioli, the weekend’s event organizer. “How far they can hit a softball or how much they smile after all they’ve been through?”

Matias Ferreira of USA Patriots at bat on Saturday, June 15, 2024 Credit: Neil Miller

Smithtown's Matias Ferreira, the team’s only current Long Islander, lost both of his legs while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan in 2011. Since then, he joined the Suffolk County police department to become the first double amputee patrolman in the country. He has been involved with the Patriots since the very beginning.

“At first I was like, ‘How am I going to play softball?' ’’ Ferreira said. “But they got me out there, I hung out in the back and played catcher for a bit, and from there I realized how much potential there was on this field. The camaraderie is what all of these guys were looking for when they joined the team.”

Newer to the program is Saul Monroy, who has been involved with the Patriots for about seven years. Monroy lost a portion of his left leg during a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2010.

“I saw these guys on YouTube one time, and I was in the transition phase of trying to learn how to walk again,” Monroy said. “It really hit home so I reached out, got on the field, and it’s been history ever since.”

Transitioning from the military back to civilian life is something Monroy said he struggled with the most. Being part of a team of like-minded veterans offered Monroy a community he may not have been able to find otherwise.

“We’re all going through some struggles that not everybody goes through,” Monroy said. “Being with one another and knowing that we all understand what the next guy is going through, it makes it feel like we’re not so alone.”

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