Softball for a cause this November

Published 9:29 pm Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Softball players and those watching from the bleachers can support a good cause this November at a weekend of fundraising.

The third annual Jimmy Pike Softball Tournament will be hosted by Suffolk Youth Athletic Association at 510 Kings Fork Road. Games will begin on Nov. 11 and 12 at 9 a.m. each day, with the last games of each day starting at 4 p.m.

Teams at the 8U, 10U and 16U levels are still being accepted, while 12U and 14U teams have reached capacity, said Michael Clark, softball coach and tournament director. He said there are no competition trophies or rewards other than the satisfaction of the players themselves.

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“When you see them all on the same field, it kind of gives you goose bumps,” Clark said about the young players. “Everyone is out there for fun.”

Christyiana Grubbs, a volunteer and mother to Lily Grubbs on Clark’s team Crush, described how much softball means to her daughter and the other young girls.

“A lot of these girls might come into this not feeling very confident about themselves, but then they get on the field, make plays and build confidence,” Grubbs said.

Clark said 40 teams had signed up as of Thursday, an increase compared to the 31 teams that played last year. Each team is encouraged to make a minimum $5 donation that will support the Leukemia Foundation and Children’s Hospital for the King’s Daughters.

Umpires and other volunteers are also requested, Clark said.

The tournament is in memory of James J. “Jimmy” Pike, 51, a Surry County High School baseball coach that passed away from cancer in September 2015. Michael Clark, softball coach and tournament director, said Pike was well-liked by players, parents and even his competitors.

“I had played against his team right before he passed away that summer,” Clark said. “He was competitive like everybody else.”

Others recognized will be Mikayla Short, 21, a volunteer SYAA umpire that passed away from leukemia in April 2016, and Rodney “Rod” Taylor, 56, a former SYAA president who died in June, but not from cancer.

“We are glad that through this tournament we can come together and do something positive, and hopefully this will make a difference in someone’s life who may be suffering from cancer,” Grubbs said.

Call 323-7399 for more information.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story gave an incorrect date of death for Mikayla Short.