The New City Generals opened up the first ever Lt. Vincent Barone 9U Memorial Tournament Friday at Nanuet High School.
The three-day tournament is named in honor of the former New York City firefighter who died in February of this year after complications from surgery. It’s made up of the three New City Generals under-9 teams, Rockland Hitmen, Monroe Crusaders, New City Little League 9U All Stars and PBI Eagles.
“It’s very nice of them to do this, and it’s a bit overwhelming,” said Laura Barone, widow of Vincent Barone. “Everyone’s been very kind to our whole family.”
The money raised from the tournament will go into a fund set up by the FDNY for education for Barone’s four children: Isabella, 11, Anthony, 10, Vincent 8, and Christopher, 5.
“It’s a beautiful tribute to our family,” Laura Barone said. “My husband would be shocked all these people from the community did this for him. I don’t think he felt he touched that many people.”
The Barone family was brought out during the pre-game ceremony, and all four kids were given plaques as recipients of the Lt. Vincent Barone Courage Award. Laura Barone was given a bouquet of flowers, and all four kids threw out ceremonial first pitches. The national anthem was performed by Broadway singer and New City resident Maya Days who has appeared in a number of shows, including “Rent,” “Aida” and “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
The idea for the tournament came from Joe DiRocco, manager of the New City Generals 9U Blue team and vice president of the Generals Board of Directors. DiRocco said he came up with the idea about two months ago.
“Obviously all the Generals teams were up for it, and when I brought up the idea to the other teams, who are teams we usually play during the season, they were all on board immediately,” DiRocco said. “I think everyone wanted to participate because it’s for such a good cause.”
DiRocco said he didn’t know Barone that well, but did coach a few of his kids’ baseball and football teams.
“He was a quiet guy, he kept to himself,” DiRocco said of Barone. “Sometimes with kids sports, you get some loud parents. He was never like that. He just came to watch his kids.”
DiRocco estimated that the tournament raised about $2,000 is registration fees and signup. He said by the end of the weekend, if they could sell enough T-shirts and items from the concession stand to raise $5,000, that’d be a great start for an event he hopes to turn into a yearly tournament.
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