Cancer Has Robbed Justin Cito of His Vision, so Monrovia’s Andrew Cito Throws No-Hitter for Dad on Friday, While Grandpa Describes Every Pitch

Feb 20 2024 02:48:06

Thanks to Bryan Zinn for the video clip. 


By Brian Reed-Baiotto, Sports Editor

Andrew Cito is a senior at Monrovia High School.

For most 17-year-old boys, there isn’t a whole lot of real-life drama to worry about.

They tend to focus on their grades, baseball and girls.

And not always in that order.

Cito, however, is facing the most difficult moment of his young life.

Sadly, cancer has reared its ugly face again into the daily lives of his 51-year-old father, Justin Cito, and their family.

A few months ago, Justin had to retire from his work in the construction business, because of the recurrence, and this hideous disease has robbed Mr. Cito of his vision.

It goes without saying that it’s been a challenging time for Justin and Renee Cito, and their two boys, Andrew and his 15-year-old brother, Dylan.

Renee has been the absolute rock for her entire family, and she had to step away from her job as a special needs aide at Mayflower Elementary School in Monrovia to tend to her husband’s needs.

Andrew said his father taught him to be a kind and respectful person, to prioritize his education, and to earn everything in life that he wants.

Justin Cito coached his son all the way through his youth, and then he turned over the reins to longtime Monrovia baseball coach, Brad Blackmore.

Through difficult times, this Monrovia senior is carrying out his father’s lessons with a 3.8 GPA, while treating people well, and working his butt off on the baseball field.

In spite of their reality, Andrew got to share a most beautiful and historic moment with his father this past Friday.

Cito threw a no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over Glendale while his dad sat down the left-field line.

To make the moment even more special, Justin’s 80-year-old father, Dennis Cito, sat with his son and played the role of Vin Scully by describing each and every pitch of Andrew’s no-hitter.

Cito said he wasn’t fully aware of the potential no-hitter until the fifth inning, and about that time, he also realized that his teammates had stopped talking to him.

It was like that superstition where they didn’t want to jinx it for their buddy.

Ironically, Andrew hit the first batter of the seventh inning, or he might have finished with a perfect game.

After reaching base, Andrew said he looked over at Coach Blackmore and then saw his teammate, Zach Menlove run to the bullpen to warm up.

At first, it gave Cito some pause.

But a freshman would come to his rescue.

With no outs, the next Glendale batter squared to bunt while the runner from first tried to steal second base.

Monrovia’s freshman catcher, Braydon Blackmore, pegged the runner at second, and Cito took a massive exhale and finished making history.

The 21st out came on a fly ball to left field that Cito humbly described as getting some help from the wind to knock it down.

His teammates sprinted towards the mound to celebrate with Andrew and the beautiful memories didn’t end there.

“Coach B came out and gave me a hug and he had a tear in his eye,” Andrew said. “It’s the first time I’ve seen him with tears, and it meant a lot to me. We walked down the left-field line, and he gave my dad the game ball.”

Andrew was able to get his father’s attention.

“Hey dad, dad,” he said.

And Justin’s response?

“Nice job, son. Well done.”

Cito got home and one of the first things his dad told him was “don’t get too cocky, because of this,” and Andrew promised his father he wouldn’t.

Andrew said his coaches and teammates have meant everything to him, and they have been incredibly supportive.

The game of baseball has also served as a good distraction.

This is a photo of the Cito’s in better times.

I asked Andrew if he had a message for his parents.

“I want my dad to know that I’ll do everything I can to make your life easier. I also want you to know that even when you’re gone, the lessons you’ve taught Dylan and I will stay with us for a lifetime. To my mom, I can’t put into words how strong and remarkable you’ve been, and how much it means to us. We want you to let us know how we can help and make life easier on you as well. Dylan and I love both of you guys so much.”

When his senior year at Monrovia is over, Andrew wants to continue pitching in college.

He’s been accepted at the University of Nevada, Reno and Boise State, but Andrew Cito said his dream is to pitch for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

How did his coach describe Andrew Cito?

Said Brad Blackmore: “Andrew has been in my program all four years, and he’s always been a good, successful pitcher. As a senior, he’s become one of our leaders. He is a tremendous competitor, he works fast and efficient, and he’s developed into a great starting pitcher. Andrew is loved by his teammates and coaches, always is available, and sets a great example for our younger guys. With his dad’s illness, he has held a strong toughness and focus during trying times. I know it has taken a toll on him, but he has been focused on being a good brother and son and getting ready for the season. I think it’s an unbelievable example for our younger players of perseverance. I couldn’t be prouder of that young man.”

Just below are some game notes.

Andrew Cito throws a no-hitter in a 4-0 victory over Glendale.

Cito faced the minimum 21 batters with some help from freshman catcher, Braydon Blackmore.

Cito didn’t issue a walk and struck out four batters.

Joshua Griffiths scored one run, had an RBI single, and he drove home another on a sac fly.

Julian Fernandez and Troy Grise singled and scored one run apiece.

Noah Ellison drove in a run on a sac fly, and he scored once for the Wildcats.

Tristan Oandasan also had an RBI fly out.

Up next: The Wildcats will host Alhambra on Tuesday at 3.

Box Score:
G: 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-(0)
M: 1-0-3-0-0-0-X-(4)

Win: Andrew Cito
Loss: Derek Chalian

2B: Joshua Griffiths (M)

Records: Glendale (0-4); Monrovia (3-0)