By WVUA 23 Web Coordinator David Williams III
Local softball teams gathered Tuesday to raise money for the DCH Breast Cancer Fund and discuss their upcoming tournament. Though they expect good competition, the tournament is about more than the final score.
Thirteen years ago, Hillcrest High School decided to take a swing at knocking out breast cancer. On Feb. 22, 25 teams will take the field for Hillcrest’s annual DCH Breast Cancer Awareness Tournament. Teams will not only be focused on winning, but also raising money to fight breast cancer.
“Many years ago, Tournament Director Ron Magee had a vision about giving back to the community, and he asked some local teams to participate and the next thing you know it got bigger and bigger until, you know, now it’s one of the premier tournaments in the state,” said Tommy Honeycutt, the head softball coach of Northside High School.
Softball teams around the state are stepping up to the plate and striking out cancer, and they all have unique inspirations.
Hillcrest High School softball player Lynsey Simpson said that cancer hit close to home.
“My second grade teacher died of breast cancer and my third grade teacher is a breast cancer survivor,” said Simpson. “She will be walking in the ceremony at the Patriot Classic. Those are two of the strongest women I’ve ever met.”
Last year, Hillcrest lost one of their own. Tommy Wagner of Wagner Sports, ultimately lost his battle with cancer. He started sponsoring the tournament many years ago.
“Tommy Wagner was a trailblazer for the Hillcrest softball team,” Simpson said. “He brought us all of our spirit packs. He’s just always been with us. We are forever thankful for him.”
In remembrance of Wagner, the teams will wear stickers on their helmets during the tournament.
If you would like to help raise money for the fight against breast cancer, stop by Tropical Smoothie Café in Midtown. In order to make a donation, tell the cashier you are there to support the Patriot Classic Kick-Off Tournament, and a percentage of your order will be donated. This fundraiser ends Feb. 22.