The 2013 Wetzel Chronicle's Relay For Life Strike Out Cancer Softball Tournament is in the history books, along with several records, The Pain Train won the championship for the second straight year, the team's third win in four years.
Jake Brill set a tournament record by hitting five consecutive home runs in the Magnolia Cheerleaders & Co. opener. He also set a new record for the most home runs in the tournament with 12 long tators, including a pair of round-trippers that bounced off the Bruce Park medium and small shelter roofs.
The tournament started with the MHS Cheerleaders taking on RJ Goode's Cancer Crushers. The cheerleaders had a secret weapon in Brill, who smacked five straight round trippers and a walk-off grand-slam to topple the Crushers 26-25.
In the second game on Friday, the Wetzel Chronicle got a forfeit as members of Bridgeport Tool had to work and couldn't make it. But several players from both the Crushers and Cheerleaders pulled together and beat the Chronicle Zebras, 20-14.
In the final game of the night, the Pain Train squeaked past the Thump-en Gizzards, 18-17 with the Gizzards' tying run getting gunned down at the plate to end an exciting match-up.
The Wetzel County Hospital Hope Team nipped the Prodigy Wellness bunch, 13-11, while the Pain Train derailed Wetzel Chronicle 22-16. In another tournament record, the Wetzel Chronicle team earned the distinction of becoming the first team to go an entire inning without getting at least one run.
In the third game on Saturday at Bruce Park, members of WTRF Channel 7 team took on the MHS Cheerleaders. Headed by newsman Nate Fluharty, WTRF came out on fire with the help of Chronicle's sports writer's son Jeremy Crawford, Paden City Head Baseball Coach Brent Croasmun and his brother Brian, MHS Coaches Jody Evans and Zach Blair, along with SuddenLink's Carman Harman. Channel-7's Carman Harman's first time at bat saw the Green Lantern take his place, to give them a shot in the arm and spark a nice rally.
After falling behind, the Cheerleaders rallied and took the lead, only to see Channel-7 tie it up and force the tie-breaker - a best of three coin flips. Fluharty called tails and won the first flip, while the Cheerleaders' Head Coach, Lakyn Cecil called heads that didn't go their way and Channel-7 won the 19-19 tie.
Channel-7 hooked up against the Crushers in the next game, but fell 25-13. Again, the Chronicle won by forfeit as the Solid Waste team also worked over and couldn't get to the tourney in time. But, just as in the first game, everyone got together and gave the Chronicle a game, with the Zebra's winning, 18-17. Afterward, the Cancer Crushers crushed Prodigy, 27-13, despite a pair of long balls from Jeremy Shepherd of Prodigy Wellness that ended the games at Bruce.
Two games were played at the Hydro field, with the Thump-en Gizzards defeating both the Wetzel County Hospital and the Prodigy bunch.
Following the Pain Train as tournament runner-up were the Thump-en Gizzards, while the MHS Cheerleaders & Co. placed third. Cris Jenkins was picked as the tournament's MVP. He showed not only outstanding softball skills, but also sportsmanship and personified the courage and determination needed to Strike Out Cancer.
The Pain Train's Jonas McEldowney was a very close second, and the Chronicle's late Judy Hill would be very, very proud of the way McEldowney handled himself throughout the tournament. In addition to playing outstanding defense, he was energetic and creative when asked to do some "crazy stuff" while batting, including skipping around the bases while singing the Barney song.
"This tournament wouldn't have been possible without the help of Mr. and Mrs. Martin Parrish," said Tournament Director Bruce Crawford. "We raised over $1,000 for the fight against cancer. I would like to thank the New Martinsville Parks Department for the use of the ball fields and to my brother-in-law, Dale Estep, along with Martin and Beverly Parrish for helping me get the field ready."
The Relay for Life walk is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday at the 4-H grounds.