There’s a different kind of baseball tournament in Waxahachie this weekend. More than 40 teams will be there, playing for the one kid who can’t.

Steve and Beverly Russo lost their son six months ago, in a 4-wheeler ATV accident. Slade was 13 years old, and he loved baseball.

“Steve would sit on the couch and toss him the ball till he broke the window out,” said Beverly Russo, Slade’s mother.

“The wiffle ball,” added Steve Russo, Slade’s father.

Beverly chuckled. “When we would go to his siblings’ ball games when he was real little, he would wear an Easter egg bucket on his head for a helmet.”

The tournament will raise money for the “Play for Slade” Foundation, which will award scholarships to young baseball players who need help paying for equipment and instruction.

His friends all remember Slade as simply a great kid.

“If someone struck out or didn’t do good, he was always picking them up and just saying, ‘It’s okay. Get ’em next time,’” said Jaxyn Keith, who played baseball with Slade.

“He never really didn’t want to do anything,” said Spencer Holt. “He was always doing something.”

“Special kid, talented in everything he does,” said Dalton Land. “Just a good kid.”

“He loved us, and he always just picked everybody up,” said Kyler Keith, tears streaming down his face. “He was a really good kid.”

The teams playing in the tournament this weekend at the Waxahachie Sports Complex will be playing to win, but that’s secondary. Tournament organizers will meet with all the coaches Friday to make sure they all play Slade’s way.

“I just want the parents and coaches to realize, this is for the kids,” said Steve Russo.

“Love your kid regardless of what happens,” said Ron Santos, who is organizing the tournament. Santos owns Gear Up Baseball, an instructional facility in Waxahachie. “I think that’s going to be huge, especially for this weekend. That’s why we’re doing it.”

He was a good kid and a good baseball player, and he’s gone way too soon.

“The last thing Slade said to us as he walked out the door was, I love y’all,” said his father, Steve. “I think about that every day. Every day.”



A Waxahachie baseball tournament is being played in honor of Slade Russo, a beloved team lost far too soon. Ted Madden has more.