‘She absolutely loved softball’: Coe-Brown honors former Bear who died in Thanksgiving car accident

  • From left to right: Jayden Porter, Courtney Thomas and Hailey Pruett stand during the singing of the national anthem, following Monday’s pregame ceremony honoring the life of Drew Ceppetelli who died in a car crash in November. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Coe-Brown head coach Dave Allis reflects on the impact Drew Ceppetelli left. Rich Miyara / NH Sports Photography

  • Drew Ceppetelli fields a ground ball for the Bears. The former softball standout died in a car accident on Thanksgiving morning. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 5/9/2023 4:07:31 PM

Four years ago, Coe-Brown softball took down Hollis-Brookline, 9-5 as Drew Ceppetelli, a senior captain for the Bears, went 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.

“Just another day for Cepp,” head coach Dave Allis said about the game on May 8, 2019.

Ceppetelli finished her final season hitting .462. She struck out just one time. One strikeout the entire season.

“Just another season for Cepp,” said Allis.

On Monday, the Coe-Brown softball team, wearing pink T-shirts with Ceppetelli’s number seven on the back, stood shoulder-to-shoulder down the third base line; Oyster River, in its smooth blue jerseys, lined the first base side; Allis stood near the pitcher’s circle, with the Ceppetelli family behind him.

Drew Ceppetelli died tragically on November 24, early Thanksgiving morning in a car crash. She would’ve turned 22 two weeks later.

Monday provided an opportunity for the Coe-Brown community to reflect on the legacy she left behind, both on the field and off of it. She grew to be a key cog to the success of one of the top programs in Division II softball before playing in college at Salve Regina University in Rhode Island. She loved the game dearly.

“Dave (Allis) says it best,” said Melissa Ceppetelli, Drew’s mother. “Drew didn’t play softball; Drew was a softball player. It was home for her.”

Space to watch the pregame ceremony was sparse. Family, friends, and former teammates fanned across from dugout to dugout; even the Coe-Brown baseball team walked down the hill from their field to watch, while the boys’ lacrosse team looked on from beyond the right field fence.

“Overwhelming,” Ceppetelli said of the atmosphere. “The support, although not surprising, is overwhelming when you walk in and see it all.”

Tears streamed down faces, as the players commemorated a teammate anyone would love to have.

“She was just one of those kids, just a natural leader,” Allis said. “She was always fun and energetic and always had a good attitude, a great work ethic, tried her hardest, gave it her all.”

To carry that legacy forward, the Ceppetelli family started the Drew Cepp Scholarship Fund that will be used for multiple initiatives. Each year, they’ll award a scholarship to a Coe-Brown student who epitomizes who she was: “A good student, an athlete, but somebody that’s positive and kind and inclusive,” Melissa Ceppetelli said. 

They’re also working with Soul Models, a local non-profit organization that teaches middle school-aged girls mindfulness, yoga, meditation and other techniques, with the goal of empowering them to “be generally good people,” as Ceppetelli described it.

Although the Bears came up short in their matchup with the Bobcats that followed the ceremony – a 3-0 extra-inning loss – the day still served as a fulfilling tribute to a teammate who brought so much joy to the diamond at Coe-Brown each and every day.

“Just grateful,” Melissa Ceppetelli said. “Grateful for all the support.”


ERIC RYNSTON-LOBEL is a sports reporter for the Monitor. He graduated from Northwestern University in June 2022 with a degree in journalism and spent his last two years as sports director for the campus radio station, WNUR, leading coverage for nine different sports. A New York native, he's a diehard Yankees and Giants fan much to the displeasure of most of the newsroom.

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