Update: Reid Rizzo day was originally scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 14, however forecast of inclement weather have forced the rescheduling of the event to the day before, Saturday, Oct. 13. The Storm Fall League Championship game will begin at 3 p.m. on Saturday, with the Reid Rizzo Day ceremony being held during the seventh inning stretch.
PAINESVILLE, OHIO – The Lake Erie College baseball team will host a tribute to honor the life of Reid Rizzo as the team wraps up its fall training season on Saturday, Oct. 14, at Braggs Field in Painesville Kiwanis Recreation Park. "Reid Rizzo Day" will begin at 3 p.m. and will feature the Storm Fall League championship game, a special ceremony honoring Reid and the program's annual Family Day picnic.
The Storm Fall League championship game, an annual intra-squad contest during the fall, will take on a unique spin this year in honor of Rizzo. The SFL championship game will be a 13-inning affair, commemorating the number of innings Rizzo played in his final game – the Storm's 15-inning loss to Saginaw Valley State University in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) Tournament on May 11, 2012.
Less than a month later, Rizzo passed away in his sleep the night of June 2 in Madisonville, Ky., where he was playing summer ball. He suffered from a heart condition called cardiomyopathy , a deterioration of the heart function. Rizzo was diagnosed with the disease as an infant but continued to excel in sports throughout his life, despite doctors' recommendation that he not even participate in athletics.
Rizzo appeared in 82 games in his two seasons with the Storm, batting .253 with 47 runs scored, 22 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases. As a sophomore, he was the team's leadoff hitter and starting shortstop, setting a school record for most times hit by a pitch in a season (10) and for most fielding assists (122). The Storm won a school-record 27 games last season and qualified for the GLIAC Tournament for the first time.
During the seventh inning, the game will be stopped momentarily for a ceremony in which Coach McGee will be joined by members of the Rizzo family on the field for a short presentation. Additionally, hundreds of balloons will be released into the sky in support of cardiomyopathy research. The balloons will be given out in exchange for a donation prior to the seventh inning with all proceeds going to the foundation established in Reid's name.
Storm players will wear commemorative t-shirts with Rizzo's number seven on them during the game. The shirts are donated by the Student Government Association at Lake Erie. Following the ceremony, fans will be able to participate in the annual Family Day picnic while the SFL game resumes until completion.
"It has been a very trying couple of months for our program with the loss of Reid, the passing of Patrick and Brian Kilway's father Rick during the season and the near-fatal accident of (former baseball student-athlete) Seth Baumberger '08 this summer," said McGee. "But our team has adopted the message from Reid's dad Tim to 'Press On' and it is a great representation of the path and attitude our team and the players have taken through all this. It really captures the way Reid lived his life and how he led our team and is a very powerful message for us all."
For more information on the Reid Rizzo Memorial Scholarship Fund and Foundation for Cardiomyopathy Research, visit www.reidrizzofoundation.com.