“This is Make a Wish times 10,” said Catanzaro, a probation officer. “Seeing Jacoby interact with Ellsbury is a dream come true, and it’s motivation that is going to last for a long time.”
Jacoby, who was diagnosed with West Syndrome, Landau Kleffner Syndrome and autism, began the season in the Danvers LL Challenger program for children with mental or physical handicaps. He performed so well that he was promoted to a standard Danvers National LL team, an extraordinary move. A left-handed pitcher, he played so well at that level that he was chosen for DNLL’s 8-and-9-year-old all-star team. He was the winning pitcher in the championship game of the Manchester-Essex District 15 Invitational tournament and also helped his team to victory in the Stan Brown Tournament.
Heather Catanzaro said her son watches baseball games on television and pays close attention to Ellsbury at the plate.
“He mimics his stance and hand movements. Jacoby even throws the batting gloves off when he gets to first base,” she said.
“This is just an amazing day for all of us, and while Jacoby may not understand it all, he’s having a great time. So many people have shown such empathy; they’ve been touched and inspired by what Jacoby has done.”
Dell interviewed Jacoby and his parents for a mini-feature that was shown on NESN during the sixth inning of yesterday’s game, a 5-2 win for the American League East champs. Jacoby told Dell before the game that whenever he goes to Fenway Park, the Red Sox always win — and his prediction came true again yesterday.
“The president of NESN, Sean McGrath, saw the story about Jacoby in The Salem News. He emailed me, and I’m happy we arranged a special day for him,” said Dell. “Who could resist those big eyes and big smile? He’s a charmer.