Monday's Tenth annual Fehlman Memorial Senior All-Star Softball Game has plenty of special meaning for St. Edward graduate Lissa Fehlman.
Fehlman played in one of the first editions of the game as a Green Wave senior. Much more importantly, the game, which takes place at 6:30 p.m. at Judson University, honors her father and brother.
Dave Fehlman, who passed away late in the summer of 2007, is a past president of the Fox Valley Renegades travel softball organization and a longtime area youth softball supporter. The Renegades were the original host of the All-Star event, staging games at East Dundee's Jockey Field.
His son, Robbie Fehlman, was tragically killed by a motorist just after the family moved to Colorado late last summer. Robbie was 13.
"To have this celebration of the sport and the memory of my dad and brother every year is humbling," said Lissa Fehlman, a past Daily Herald all-area softball captain who played at Evansville University and now is a doctor in Colorado. "My dad was one of the closest people to me in my life and my brother always hung around the dirt as much as my dad did. To have something like this named for them is a really big deal."
Fehlman said the event's 10th is of major significance.
"It's a really cool game. I enjoyed playing in it at St. Ed's," she said. "Anything that lasts 10 years is huge. It's great to see how far the sport has come and how popular it is. It's always fun driving by fields in the middle of the summer or going into a place to eat in the summer and seeing tons of girls in their uniforms all dirty and sweaty. Softball is a great game."
The annual game features seniors from 20 high schools around the Fox Valley area.
"It's awesome that I was asked to play," said South Elgin's Kara Rodriguez, a member of the East team who was named the Daily Herald's Fox Valley Female Athlete of the Year Friday.
"I helped out at it once before. It's a good game."
Rodriguez is looking forward to catching up with some familiar faces.
"You get to be with different girls," she said. "This time you're working with them instead of working against them. I'm going to have fun and meet some new people, make some new friends and go out with a bang."
Larkin's Anne Vogt and Natalie Smith-Kim will coach the West, while St. Charles North's Tom Poulin and Thjis Dennison will coach the East team.
Ceremonial first pitches will be thrown out by Christopher Fehlman, another of Dave's sons, as well as outgoing coaches Jason Schaal (South Elgin) and Chad Dahlman (Elgin). Dahlman coached in the 2012 game, while Schaal coached in the 2009 version.
The color guard from Haderer-Eineke American Legion Post 680 in Hampshire will present the colors for the national anthem.
Matt Schacht, formerly of the Renegades and one of the founders of the game, will umpire along with George Ewert and Steve Gamble. All three volunteer their time for the event.
This is the third year of the East-West format. The East won last year's game, 6-5, while the West was an 11-5 winner in 2011. Prior to that the North held a 4-3 edge in all-star wins over the South.
Lake Park and Bartlett are tied for the most All-Star MVPs with three each. Jacobs, Dundee-Crown and Marian Central have each had two players named MVP of the game. Last year's MVPs were Melany Love of Dundee-Crown and Tiffany Bentley of Hampshire.
The game is sponsored by the Northern Illinois Lightning, Judson University, Kohls, and the Daily Herald.
Admission to the game is free. A 50/50 raffle will be held to help defray the cost of the game and donations are welcome.
For further information, call (847) 812-1522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.