Softball tournament gives Lynn a chance to remember a beloved community member

LYNN — This weekend will be all about good times and good friends at the Vanessa Masucci Softball Tournament, played at Grace Rogato Field, but no one will forget why they are gathering in the first place: to remember a beloved member of the Lynn community.

It was roughly 10 months ago when Vanessa Masucci was found dead in her Revere home, allegedly at the hand of her husband Andrew MacCormack. He has been charged with murder and is set to go to trial November 5.

Vanessa Masucci was a bright spot in many people’s lives, making connections with all sorts of people over the years. A standout softball player, she played in Lynn Little League and Lynn Babe Ruth before starring on the diamond at St. Mary’s. She had an offer to play college softball at Bridgewater State but turned it down to instead focus on academics. While in college she joined a sorority and made more lifelong friends. She then became a teacher and taught second grade at Connery Elementary.

“She was just the best, at everything really,” said Joe Masucci, Vanessa’s brother and the director of the softball tournament. “She was the funniest person, she used to do these great impressions of people. She connected with everybody and was just a great person.”

And because of her softball background, it was a no-brainer that a softball tournament would be the event that bore Vanessa Masucci’s name and memory.

“She loved softball, loved competing and loved the tournament format,” said Joe Masucci. “She also just loved having fun and being around her friends and family. That’s really what this weekend is going to be about.”

The tournament opened Friday night at Rogato Field, with six games getting played in groups of two at a time on adjacent fields. It will continue Saturday with a marathon of games, as two games each will be played every two hours from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. That’s 12 games, for those who are counting. The tournament will then close out Sunday afternoon with two or three more games, weather permitting. There are 11 teams in the tournament, which will be played in a double-elimination format.

The community has responded well to the tournament, as a number of local entities have lent support and sponsorship to the event. Harrington Trophies, Lynn Babe Ruth, Sacred Heart Church, Connery Elementary, Revere High, Danvers High, St. Mary’s High and Phi Sigma Sigma (Vanessa’s sorority) are just some of the many who donated time and support to the tournament.

But the real reason why the tournament is going on and why it has been so successful, according to Joe Masucci, is the tireless work of Vanessa’s friends. He pointed to, in no particular order, assistant tournament director Jim Kefalas, Colleen (Clancy) Bransfield, Nicole Oak, Janelle (Bruno) Hegarty, Ashley Laramie, Erica Richard, Tony Bruno, Colleen Newbury, Jim and Ryan Beliveau, and Sara (Fitzgerald) McCabe for the lion’s share of the credit.

“They’re the reason why this tournament is happening,” said Joe Masucci. “I feel like I shouldn’t accept much of the credit really, because this was done with the help of so many people who loved Vanessa. Those people are the reason we’re here this weekend.”

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