Naninni baseball fundraiser features son of game’s namesake
The 16th annual Kevin and Brian Naninni Scholarship Fundraiser Baseball Game packed the stands last Friday evening as players from Merced High, Golden Valley High, and for their first year El Capitan High, received honors.
Each year, the friendly baseball game between the otherwise rival Bears and Cougars teams highlights the lives and legacy of Kevin and Brian Naninni, who would move on from playing Bears baseball to become accomplished athletes in the sport. Tragically, the brothers lost their lives in a boating accident in 2004.
“It’s a beautiful night out tonight, and a beautiful night to play ball,” said Dave Naninni, the father of Kevin and Brian, and organizer of the event. “Thank you to all of my friends who stepped up to help, because this year I want to watch more of the ballgame because Brian’s oldest son, Andrew, is starting in left field.”
Dave Naninni went on to award scholarships to senior baseball players on each team who applied for the funds, have good grades, and will be moving on to post-secondary education.
It ended up being a contentious game, going back and forth in an evenly-matched display of athleticism.
The Bears and Cougars held each other at 0-0 for six innings. The game was tied up in the seventh inning, and then decided when Cougars player Jesus Leon just slipped past Bears’ catcher Grant Deal, to bring the game to 2-1.