ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) - This weekend softball fields in St. Pete had a noticeable new piece of equipment on the fields as hundreds turned out to play in the Greg Fusco Memorial Tournament.
Pitchers toed the rubber behind these safety nets as part of a new rule change designed to enhance player safety.
The change put in place after a Palm Harbor man was struck and killed by a line drive while pitching in a slow pitch softball tournament in Jacksonville earlier this month.
The tournament was originally set up by teammates as a fundraiser to help off-set Fusco’s hospital bills, but nearly two weeks after his injury, the 37-year-old newlywed suddenly passed away.
Though he lost his life playing the game he loved, Fusco’s closest friends and teammates say he would’ve wanted his team to play on. So the tournament went on, bringing together 27 teams and raising thousands of dollars to help Fusco’s family.
“I feel better coming out here and playing and that’s why we play the game just to get out here and take your mind off things, to get away from life. Life’s hard enough as it is,” said teammate Rob Turnbull.
Greg Fusco’s name will also live on through the International Slow Pitch Softball Organization. A new rule change, known as the Greg Fusco Rule, will require pitchers to either wear a mask, stand behind a net or sign a waiver opting out of protection. The Tampa Bay Softball League has already adopted the rule change.