By Linda Collins
Fairborn Daily Herald
ENON – Pink will rule the day on Saturday, Sept. 10, as eight area teams hit the diamond for the 2nd Annual “Heroes vs. Breast Cancer” Softball Tournament.
The Clark County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #209 is sponsoring the softball tournament again this year with Mad River Township Sheriff’s Deputy Jeff Wise coordinating the event. Participants will play ball at the Enon VFW Post 8437 George Roger Clark Memorial baseball field, 5075 Enon Xenia Road.
Raising funds to fight breast cancer is a cause that Wise has embraced since he learned first-handed about the serious impact breast cancer has on its victims and their families. His wife’s niece lost her battle to the disease in October 2013, and Wise’s wife, Ellen Sue, was diagnosed with breast cancer in in May 2014.
She started her first round of chemotherapy in August 2014 and underwent a bilateral mastectomy and breast reconstruction in March 2015. Last year, the deputy came up with the idea to hold the annual event as a way for the community to help those who have been affected by breast cancer and support the Pink Ribbon Girls.
Founded 14 years ago by breast cancer survivor, Tracy Metzger, the Tipp City-based, non-profit organization provides free services and support to area women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer, including fresh, nutritious meals shipped directly to the women and their families, housekeeping, transportation to treatment and ongoing peer support.
The organization’s motto is “No one travels this road alone.”
The softball tournament will kick off at 8 a.m. with several members of the Greenon High School band playing the National Anthem. Afterward, breast cancer survivors are invited to take an honorary, home-run lap around the baseball diamond prior to the first ball of the game being thrown out by a representative of the Pink Ribbon Girls.
The first game of the day will pit the Ohio State Highway Patrol team against the Wright Patterson Air Force Base Fire Department team. Clark County sheriff’s deputies will then take on Hustead Fire & EMS team for game two. In game three, Enon Police officers will face the Enon/Mad River Township Fire & EMS Department team, and Game #4 will pit the Community Mercy Hospice team against the Dayton Nurses Network team.
In Game #5, the first of the semifinals, the winner of game one will face off with the winner of game two. Afterwards, the winner of game #3 will compete against the winner of game four in game six. Finally, the two semifinal winners will advance to the championship game where one team will claim the title of Heroes Champions for 2016.
“This is a single-elimination tournament with each game being limited to 90 minutes or seven innings, whichever comes first,” Wise said.
Wise noted that the tournament is free to the public, but tournament officials will be accepting donations that will benefit the Pink Ribbon Girls.
“Pink Ribbon Girls provide personalized support to women throughout all phases of their breast cancer journey, and this event is a great opportunity for the community to support a great organization.”
Wise pointed out that there will be plenty of festivities for the entire family. Fans and supporters will have an opportunity to visit a food truck full of game-time snacks, and participate in a 50/50 raffle following game #4 and another raffle just prior to the start of the championship game. According to Wise, raffle tickets will be sold for $1 each or six for $5. Xtreme Graphics & Apparel will be selling T-shirts with the insignia of all eight teams as well.
“We have a lot of really nice gift baskets, a number of gift certificates to restaurants, and other great items that were generously donated by local businesses,” Wise said.
Kids will also have a chance to participate in a variety of children games, and meet “Paw Patrol” pups Chase and Marshall who will be making several appearances throughout the day. Kids of all ages will also have the opportunity to be locked up in a pretend jail cell, which will present a great opportunity for families to take photos.
Free parking will also be available to all participants and fans. Wise is encouraging members of the community to bring their lawn chairs and blankets and spend the day. He also noted that a rain date had been set for Sunday, Sept. 11. However, if the rain ends early enough in the day, the tournament will still be played on Saturday.
“It’s a great opportunity for the community to embrace the pink and support these women who are battling cancer,” Wise said.
Wise also expressed his gratitude to the teams who answered his plead to participate in the fundraising tournament.
“Last year, we only had two teams participating. We had a real good time, but we had such a great response this year which benefits the Pink Ribbon Girls so much more,” said Wise.
For more information about the Pink Ribbon Girls, please visit pinkribbongirls.org.