The friends and family of came to Harbor Island on Saturday to turn tragedy into triumph and play a marathon round robin of softball games on three fields.
Spina, 36, was murdered in his Richbell Road apartment on September 17, 2007. His killer remains at large.
Saturday’s games at the third annual Stephen Spina Softball Classic featured 28 teams, up from 16 the first year. Proceeds from the game are being contributed toward a reward fund—now above $20,000—for information leading to the capture of Spina's murderer.
Though wracked by the uncertainty surrounding the case, the family was in good spirits and enjoyed the event. Hundreds of people flowed through the main gathering spot at the main field near the beach.
“It’s so great to see everyone come out for this,” said sister Christine Foley, the family spokesperson. ‘It’s a great vibe.”
Some came to set up tents and listen to two bands, The Funky Blue Project and 13th Flaw, along with DJ Swayde Puma.
Several local businesses helped sponsor the event and the family sold t-shirts, wristbands and koozies (insulated sleeves that keeps cans and bottles cold). Teams paid an entry fee and the winners received plaques.
This year the players and families of the Larchmont-Mamaroneck Tigers 14U Baseball Team made a generous contribution.
John Boisitz and Jasen Spagnola, two of the team’s coaches, helped organize the event. Spina loved baseball, playing on several local adult league softball teams and serving as an umpire for local little league games, so when the two decided to honor his memory by raising money for a good cause, it was a no-brainer what to do.
“We talked about it that first year, but nothing came of it, so we grabbed the bull by the horns and started it up,” said Boisitz, a close friend of Spina. “First we made sure that this was something the family wanted and then we let them decide where to put the money. He was a great guy. We called him the unofficial mayor of the village.”
Their goal is to keep the event going every year even if the case is solved. They spoke about putting together a golf outing and donating some money for a scholarship, perhaps for children who need help registering for sports programs.
Saturday’s games stretched from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Teams, which came from all over the county, also represented local businesses, including Arti-Zen, Comblo Landscape and Marc Construction. Others carried more whimsical names, like 12 Fluid Oz. and Jerry’s Kids.
Players on the team for which Spina once played second base wore the number 52, his old jersey number. They called themselves Team Spoon, after Spina’s nickname, derived from his ability to spoon up ground balls.
The Village of Mamaroneck Police Department also fielded a team. Foley has, “100 percent faith in the police and that they are doing everything they can, ” she said. “Someone knows something and we’re hoping this helps. My mom and Stephen’s daughter deserve that kind of closure.”