LYNN — Vinnie Masucci looked out at the two baseball fields at Breed Middle School’s Ben Bowzer Complex, both teeming with men and women of all ages playing softball and enjoying a picture-perfect summer day.
It was such a happy atmosphere. Masucci tried to stay in the spirit of the day, shouting encouragement to all the people who played with his daughter, Vanessa, during her sojourn through Babe Ruth and St. Mary’s softball. They were there for the softball tournament established in her memory.
That a Vanessa Masucci (MacCormack) memorial tournament was necessary at all weighed heavily on the minds of both Masucci and his wife, Karen. They weren’t sure they even wanted to go through with it.
“We both thought it was too soon,” he said. “It still hurts. We went to the first meeting, and it was tough. Real tough.”
His daughter, who was a teacher at Connery School, was killed in her Revere home last September. Her husband, Andrew MacCormack, has been charged with first-degree murder and will stand trial in November.
“In the end,” Masucci said, “we felt Vanessa would appreciate this. She’d be smiling down from heaven. And we wanted to put on a good show for (Vanessa’s daughter) Adrianna.”
So Vinnie and Karen went to Breed Friday night and Saturday with heavy hearts, but determined to put on a brave face.
“And you know,” he said, “for a moment or two, when I was watching the game, it helped. It allowed me to have my mind on something else, just for that short amount of time.”
The Masuccis agree that the tournament was a marvelous tribute to their daughter and sister. Former teammates from Babe Ruth and St. Mary’s showed up in droves, and other softball players throughout the city played as well. Her coach at St. Mary’s, Colleen (Parker) Newbury, was there — and put her Danvers players (where she now coaches) to work selling raffle tickets. Erica Richard, a former teammate who now coaches at Classical, was one of the organizers, and she also had her players working. Her assistant, Ivy Martin, was among the players as well.
Players came from as far away as Philadelphia to participate, and even one of the Revere Police detectives who worked on the case (Lt. Robert Impemba) took part.
MacCormack’s sister, Angela Masucci, just had a baby, named Antonella, seven weeks ago. Yet she also played. Younger brother Joe Masucci, an assistant football coach at English and the chairman of the event, completed the scene.
“This is such a nice tribute for her,” said Angela, an assistant volleyball coach at English. “I thought I might feel sad being here, but I don’t. I’m happy to be with people who loved her, and happy to see everyone having a fun time.”
The Masuccis reflected on how life has been since their daughter’s death while sitting alongside the first-base dugout at Breed’s Edmonds Field. The game in progress featured several Masucci relatives, with Joe pitching to Angela when it was her turn to bat.
They acknowledge that there have been plenty of tough days.
“At first,” Karen Masucci said, “we didn’t want to come to another thing that reminded us how what we lost. We’ve gone through holidays and birthdays, we feel the loss.”
Despite the pain of her loss, neither Vinnie nor Karen has any regrets.
“She was a wonderful daughter,” he said, “and a wonderful sister.
“There were days, before she bought her house in Revere, that we were all together (in Lynn) and it was heaven,” he said. “We loved it. And no matter what she wanted to do, we supported her.”
“I have zero regrets. We saw each other just about every day, or we talked to each other,” Karen said.
“Do you get peace from that?” she asked. “I don’t know about that.”