Island’s own ‘field of dreams’ rededicated
SUN PHOTO/CHRIS GRUMLEY
Franklin and Cagnina pose with
Franklin’s daughter, Dina, and Dina’s son and Marie’s grandson,
Tyler Brewer, in front of the newly unveiled plaques remembering
Scanio and Hutchinson.
Last Saturday the baseball field at Anna Maria Community Center was re-dedicated. It is the Scanio-Hutchinson Memorial Field once again, in honor of two very different individuals, worlds apart and now, as before, brought together with plaques to remind us all of the history behind Anna Maria Island Little League baseball.
Benji Scanio didn’t have time to accomplish much. He died of leukemia at age 6 in 1959 and even though his time here was short-lived, he left his tiny footprints on the hearts of those he loved and who loved him.
After his son’s death, Ben Scanio brought the community together, and with donated money and countless volunteers the Benji Scanio Memorial Field became a reality.
The other namesake of the baseball field was Fred Hutchinson, an Island resident who had an illustrious baseball career. Highlights include his days as a Major League pitcher and later as manager of the Detroit Tigers, as a player and manager of the Seattle Rainers ,and finally, as manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Hutchinson’s finest hour in professional baseball had to be leading the Reds to the 1961 World Series, but Island residents remember his tireless efforts in getting that first baseball field built at the Youth Center, now called the Community Center.
Diagnosed with lung cancer in 1964, Hutchinson died at age 45. His brother, Dr. Bill Hutchinson, created a living memorial in the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Wash., and, locally, it was only fitting that a plaque be produced in his honor and the field re-dedicated and named the Scanio-Hutchinson Memorial Field.
In attendance Saturday were Anna Maria Mayor Fran Barford, Manatee County Commissioner Carol Whitmore; Center Executive Director Pierrette Kelly and Assistant Executive Director Scott Dell, plus friends and relatives of both Scanio and Hutchinson. Island Little League President Mike Brusso made reference to this being the Island’s own "field of dreams" and touched on the importance of having the facility available for the Island’s kids.
Island Sun 9 - West Coast Surf Shop 5
Saturday, immediately following the dedication, saw a match-up between two Island teams that have faced tough opposition at the Center and in town this season. It was a rare treat to watch West Coast Surf Shop, coached by Robert Vita and Mike Brusso, versus AMI Sun, coached by Amador Salinas and Mike Field. The majority of kids on the field this morning go to school together, play countless other sports together and know each other very well, so pride was on the line.
The starting pitcher for West Coast was Henrik Brusso, who worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, limiting The Sun to two runs and making a nice catch of a pop fly.
Pitching for The Sun was Austin Morrow, who gave up just one run in the home half of the first and made a good play on a grounder, throwing the runner out at first. Morrow then struck out Blaine Jenefsky and Neil Carper. It was a solid first inning for Morrow, who would score again in the second before a pitching change, Blaine Jenefsky in for Henrik Brusso. Jenefsky soon found himself with the bases loaded as he struck out the next batter. Zach Stewart was tagged out at home plate on a close play, Joey Salinas walked to first and the bases were loaded again.
The Sun got a grip on the game as Connor Field smacked a line drive up the middle, which was knocked down by Jenefsky, saving at least two runs. One run did score on the hit, however, and eventually all three base runners crossed the plate, making it 7-1 before the inning ended.
West Coast would pull back in the second, though, taking advantage of a number of walks and some fielding miscues by The Sun. Alyssa Bosch Nyberg scored after drawing a base on balls and advanced on several passed balls. Devon Cole then knocked in a run on a fielder’s choice at first, and Mikey Ellsworth, Jack Coleman and Neil Carper all scored to make it 7-5 going into the top of the third.
Carper came in to pitch for West Coast and did a good job of limiting Sun hitters. But some walks and aggressive base running allowed Brandon Blandford to score along with Zach Stewart, who slid home on a close play that was ruled safe by the umpire.
Joey Salinas came in to close for The Sun and walked the bases loaded, then settled down and struck out the next two batters and got Coleman on a ground out to end the game at 9-5.