Palm Harbor’s Greg Fusco had two loves: His wife Taylor, whom he married a month ago, and playing slow-pitch softball.
“I moved here from New York in 2006. I don’t think I’ve ever not seen him on the softball field,” said friend, James Ellison.
Earlier this month, Fusco was on the mound at a tournament in Nokatee. In what’s been described as a freak accident, a batted ball came back at him — hitting him on the side of the head, before he could react.
After spending weeks at a hospital in Jacksonville, Fusco passed away Sunday.
“It was devastating, to be honest. There’s quite a few people that he has touched,” said Ellison.
Friends left his No. 0 behind home plate in Dunedin in his memory. His name will also live on through the International Slow Pitch Softball Organization.
“Rule 3.5. We’re going to call it the Greg Fusco Rule. Pitchers are now required to wear a mask and if they don’t, they’re going to have to sign waiver,” said Commissioner Manuel T. Ferrero III.
Similar rules will be in place this weekend at a charity tournament in St. Pete benefiting Fusco’s family. Pitchers will either wear masks or throw from behind a net.
“I guess God needed another shortstop and another pitcher for his team because that’s the only reason we can figure out that he took him,” Ellison added.
For more information on the tournament, visit the Tampa Bay Softball website.