The Hampshire baseball program will host the most colorful game of the regular season on May 17, when the Whip-Purs and Woodstock North join forces to benefit the Let's Strike Out Cancer project.
Players from both teams will swing wood bats painted the various colors of cancer awareness causes, ranging from pink to blue to orange, provided by the Hoosier Bat Company. After the doubleheader players will sign the bats and present them to people in attendance who have either survived cancer or who are currently battling the disease, including several area teachers.
"You see a lot of pink in the NFL and MLB but not much in the colors that represent other cancers," Hampshire coach John Sarna said. "Kudos to the players who felt it was important to draw awareness to all forms of cancer."
Players from both teams will wear the same donated A.J. Ellis-model, Strike Out Cancer T-shirts from 108stiches.com. Those shirts will be on sale for $10 with all funds going to charity.
The Let's Strike Out Cancer project is run by the Jason Motte Foundation in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Players Association, according to a Hampshire release. Each MLB team is represented by a player who agreed to join Motte of the St. Louis Cardinals in a partnership to benefit multiple charities.
Ellis is the Let's Strike Out Cancer representative for the L.A. Dodgers. Hampshire and Woodstock North partnered with Ellis, a southeastern Wisconsin native who works out in Racine in the off-season, due to his ties with several local players, Sarna said.
A variety of donated items will be available to bid on every half inning in a silent auction. If you would like to donate items for the silent auction or raffle, donate funds or learn more about the event, contact Sarna at firstname.lastname@example.org or Woodstock North coach Ian Rago at email@example.com.
Elgin offense awakens: It's a small sample size, but Elgin coach David Foerster liked what he saw from his Maroons in a 7-6 victory over Buffalo Grove in a game played on a turf field at Heritage Park in Wheeling Monday night.
Trailing 4-2 in the top of the fourth, the Maroons scored 5 times to take the lead and withstood single runs by the Bison in the fourth and sixth innings.
Starting pitcher Kiko Mari went 2-for-4 with 3 RBI and Thomas Sobieski was 2-for-3 with a double
"I was surprised how we hit the ball," said Foerster, whose team struggled at the plate in a 7-win season last year. "We did a nice job of putting the ball in play and we got some clutch two-out hits. We didn't see that a lot last year so it was nice to see early on."
Mari is still recovering from a finger injury to his pitching hand suffered during the final month of basketball season. He pitched 2 innings on Monday and is expected to get the start Saturday when the Maroons host St. Edward at 11 a.m.
Keeping it in perspective: The Westminster Christian baseball team went 1-5 on its spring trip to Texas last week, but the Warriors learned a lesson in the insignificance of wins and losses relative to real-life issues when they stopped for a day of service in tornado-ravaged Washington, Ill.
The players spent a day helping a local homeowner with five acres of land collect debris that used to be his house.
"It was crazy to see nothing where a house should be," Westminster Christian coach Brance Rivera said. "All that was left was a cement slab where his garage used to be and a hole where his basement used to be."
Fortunately, the homeowner was out of town at the time of the tornado. Otherwise, he told Rivera, his family would have been in the basement, where the family camper landed after it was flipped upside down by the tornado.
"It was great for our boys just to help out and to realize that what you have could be here today and gone tomorrow," Rivera said. "It taught them to not take what they have for granted and to be grateful for what the Lord has blessed us with."