NORTH ANDOVER — Ross McQuate wasn’t one of the best baseball players to come through the North Andover Booster Club Little League — his kid brother Mitchell would be on that short list — but his impact on the sport in this youth sports-crazed town is bigger than any grand slam or no-hitter.
McQuate, a soon-to-be senior at North Andover High, decided to give back to the Carl Thomas Fields complex, where he grew up playing and umpiring.
For his Eagle Scout project he built a much-needed shed to replace the old “POD” (Portable On Demand Storage), which is a place to store baseball equipment and an area for umpires to change.
McQuate went to local merchants to raise money for the materials and then solicited volunteers to help him build it.
“He not only saved us a lot of money,” said NABCLL president Kevin Breen, “but the area is now so much cleaner and nicer and offers a lot more space than the POD did. What a special young man Ross is.”
McQuate came up through the NABCLL system, first in T-ball, then “Coach Pitch,” and later the minors, majors and the Pony League.
After a brief retirement as a player, Ross worked out all winter at Ripp City Baseball in Bradford with instructor Dave Walsh, a former North Andover High star.
He eventually made the JV team and dressed for some varsity games. A lot of kids would quit in frustration with that situation.
In fact, quitting the Boys Scouts was an option for McQuate while in middle school. It wasn’t cool.
“We had weekly conversations on meeting night about what his other friends would think about him being a Boy Scout,” said his dad, Craig McQuate, who was a fundraiser and director for the local Boys Scouts group. “The thing was he enjoyed Scouts. It wasn’t easy, but thankfully he finally got past what his friends would think.”