Friday, September 26, 2003

Game to be tribute to fallen player

By Brenna R. Kelly
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Justin Saccone's two teams will play ball Sunday.

But the Knothole baseball game between the Newport Elks and the Gamecocks will be more about tribute than competition.

What: Ceremony for Justin Saccone and game between Newport Elks and Gamecocks.
When: Sunday Ceremony 1:30 p.m. Game 2 p.m.
Where: Field #3; Pendery Park on Ky. 8 in Melbourne
Saccone, a 15-year-old Campbell County High School sophomore who died during a baseball game last Sunday at Pendery Park, will be honored during a pre-game ceremony in which his parents will throw out the first pitch.

And at 4:10 p.m., the game will stop.

That's about the time last Sunday when a pitch hit Saccone in the chest as he was trying to bunt.

Saccone died from a rare occurrence called commotio cordis, in which a low-impact blow strikes the chest and throws off the heart's electrical system.

There are only about 45 known cases involving baseball.

A funeral mass for Saccone was to be this morning at St. Joseph Church in Cold Spring. Covington Diocese Bishop Roger J. Foys was to attend to offer his support to the family.

The league has canceled all other games Sunday, which is the last day of the fall league, but asked all 1,400 players to come dressed in uniform.

A purple and white sign - the colors of the Elks and Campbell County High - naming field three for Saccone will be unveiled before the game.

Saccone's friends have attached significance to the number three, said Mike Combs, district supervisor of the league.

Saccone wore number three when he was playing on field three in a game that started at 3 p.m. He died in the third inning.

Donations can be made to the Justin Allan Saccone Memorial Fund, Fifth Third Bank, care of Megan McCloskey, 70 Martha Layne Collins Blvd., Cold Spring, KY 41076.

The money will be used for a memorial at Pendery Park and to help the family with the funeral expenses.

All proceeds from concessions at the park will be donated to the fund.


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