Myers Auto Claims ‘Strike Out Cancer’ Tournament
BY BRUCE CRAWFORD
The fifth annual Wetzel Chronicle Relay For Life Softball Tournament is in the books, as Myers Auto tamed the Magnolia Elite 33-26 to gain the Wetzel Chronicle Strike Out Cancer championship. The event was staged on the baseball diamond at Howard Jeffers Dr., New Martinsville.
Rain was forecast throughout the June 10-12 event, but it never materialized enough to dampen the tournament. The weather was perfect, almost as though our beloved Judy Hill was interceding for us with the Great General Manager. There weren’t as many runs, strike-outs, or home runs scored during this year’s three-day event. Not because there weren’t the heavy hitters as in the past, but because of the larger field and the number of games played.
The Thumpin’ Gizzards’ Ryan Cisar, a former Magnolia High School athletic standout, won the tournament’s award for Most Home Runs, with three, just nosing out fellow Blue Eagle standouts Jordan Moore and Corey Hardman.
Leland Riley of the West Virginia Northern Community College team was the top hurler in the Relay tournament, striking out 10 batters, plus four of his own batters, including three in a row. Meanwhile, the SWAT’s Tim Cecil and the Wetzel Chronicle’s Bill Starkey laid to rest some heavy hitters at the ballfield.
The choice of an MVP was tough. Each team had an MVP and a few teams had more than one. However, it was Brittany Batton who was tagged as the tournament’s official Most Valuable Player. Her presence and good humor is what the tournament was all about.
Not only did she go out of her way to get bases put down for the tournament, but she was 8-10 at the plate. She also made numerous outstanding catches in the outfield and her base running skills kept the Thundering Chickens in every game they played. To go along with her outstanding softball ability during the tournament, she even had the time and courage to poke some fun of herself to give fans some notable laughs.
McDonald’s, as well as Red Lobster, donated a lot of coupons for free food and ice cream cones that were given out on nice plays and home runs.
Creighton’s Sporting Goods donated the plaques once again, and a special thanks goes to Tim Pugh for taking many great action pictures of the tournament. Also, Tanner Hanna of the Magnolia Elite team and members of the SWAT and Myers Auto chipped in and kept the field looking sharp.
However, it was the fans that came and the players that played that kept the tournament where organizer Bruce Crawford has always wanted it — fun, everywhere. Not just on the field, but on the sidelines so players and fans have a good time.
First up was last year’s champion, Wetzel County Hospital Men’s Team, taking on the Thumpin’ Gizzards at 4:30 p.m. on June 10. The thump in the Gizzards’ bats gave them a nice lead, but the hospital team found holes in the Gizzards’ defense and pulled to within a couple runs before the Gizzards put them away with a 15-12 victory.
In the second game, it was Myers Auto plucking the WVNCC Chickens by the same score, 15-12. The Magnolia Elite Team found softball to their liking and humbled the SWAT bunch 12-9 in a barn-burner to advance, while Ash’s Angels knocked off the Wetzel County Hospital’s Co-ed Team 12-8 in a filly of a game.
Several nice defensive plays by the WVNCC’s Batton and Matt Marsh, as well as teammate Travis Myers, along with the good humor of Ricci Cecil and Allison Blake kept the fans wanting more. To open Saturday, the SWAT bunch returned to take on the Wetzel County Hospital Men’s Team that knocked SWAT out of last year’s championship. However, the SWAT bunch couldn’t buy a hit, while the hospital team made their move to return to the finals with a close 14-12 victory.
Next up was the WVNCC team defeating the WCH Co-Ed Team 15-12. St. Vincent’s team, making its first appearance in the tournament, just couldn’t get their bats going, but still gave the WCH Men’s Team all they could handle, before falling, 14-13.
The Chronicle team neutralized the Thundering Chickens youth by bringing out old timers such as Mark Moore, Darren Bohrer, Jeff Potts, Dave Howell, Rick Loy, Carman Harman, John Starkey, and John Daugherty to go along with the Chronicle’s Tammy Bucy and RJ Goode in a 13-10 victory.
In one of the closest games of the tournament, the Magnolia Elite had to score six runs in their final at bat to defeat the Thumpin’ Gizzards, 23-22. Myers Auto wasted little time in sending Ash’s Angels home with a 24-12 loss. The Elite etched themselves into the finals with a 24-15 victory over the WCH Men’s Team, while Myers Auto hammered out a 23-18 victory over the Wetzel Chronicle bunch, setting up the finals for Sunday afternoon with the MHS Elite and Myers Auto.
On Sunday, Myers took a nice 6-0 lead before the Elite youth tacked on one more run than their elders to take a 7-6 lead after one inning of non-stop action. Myers and the Elite’s 15 players went to a 24-24 tie heading into the final frame, whereupon Myers Auto out-dueled the younger bucks to win a close one, 33-26 to bring home the bacon.
The Wetzel Chronicle Relay For Life Tournament raised well over $1,000 for the fifth straight year and thanks everyone that helped in making it possible. However, the Chronicle isn’t done.
There will be a scavenger hunt Thursday, June 16, from 5-6:30 p.m. at WVNCC, where volunteers will go out in the community and try to find as many items as they can in an hour and a half.
The registration fee is only $10 a car load and is dedicated to the memory of the Chronicle’s late columnist Judy Hill. There will be more than 100 items out there to find, with lots of nice gifts, including tickets to the Washington Wild Things, Kennywood Park and the Pittsburgh Zoo.