LYNN — It was blistering hot, and shady spots were hard to come by. Some players were on the field for four games or more, and it was easy to tell who they were. They were the ones who looked drained by 7 p.m. Saturday night.
Yet no one was complaining. The players, staff and volunteers who worked at the second annual Vanessa Masucci Softball Tournament at the Lynn Babe Ruth complex at Breed Middle School did all this gladly. It was their gift to the memory of a woman who — in the words of former teammate Erica Richard, “was the one who always went out of her way to make everyone feel comfortable and welcome.”
Masucci was a former softball player for St. Mary’s High School who had become a second-grade teacher at the Connery School. She was found dead in her home in September 2017, and her husband, Andrew MacCormack, has been charged with murder in the case.
“This heat, it was scary,” said Karen Masucci, Vanessa’s mother. “But people got through it.”
“I am so proud of the people who helped put this together,” said Vinnie Masucci, Vanessa’s father. “To do this, in this heat, they are the best.”
The Masuccis’ son, Joe, helped organize the tournament and was amazed by the turnout.
“We were worried,” he said. “We thought we might have to postpone it. We ended up changing some rules, but everybody showed up.
“We put coolers with water next to the dugouts,” he said. “But everyone knew what the weather was going to be like, and people bought their own water, and found whatever shade they could.”
The weather climbed into the high-90s Saturday with a triple-digit heat index.
“This was such a tribute to my daughter,” Vinnie Masucci said. “She was really something. A real loving kid. And she became more loving once she had a child (Adrianna, who is now 2) of her own. This makes it tougher to get through.
“But,” he said, “we heard a lot of stories, and we had a lot of laughs.”
Richard and Colleen (Clancy) Bransfield each played three games. Both were teammates of Masucci’s for the St. Mary’s softball team.
“It was a fun group to be around,” said Bransfield. “We were a tight group, and the parents were too.”
Said Richard, “the whole weekend was about her (Masucci). I’d just like to thank the staff, and all the volunteers. The Babe Ruth people were phenomenal. The fields were in great shape.”
Aside from Masucci, Richard and Bransfield, others who helped plan the event were Sarah (Fitzgerald) McCabe, Nicole MacMillan, Tori Albano, and Jess Walsh.