Prince William Girls Little League Softball Fundraiser Hits Big

| May 20, 2013 | 0 Comments | News

Tidal Wave hitter earns points for her team in the Bat Bonanza on Saturday.

The Prince William County Girls Softball Little League was ‘swinging in the rain,’ during the Bat Bonanza fundraiser at Tyler Elementary Saturday, May 18.

While clear skies were preferred, 23 teams of girls ages 4-13 came out to bat as part the fundraiser to support their league.

“We’ve had a remarkable turnout,” said parent and little league board member, Shannon Joy.

Besides raising money for their own league, the Bat Bonanza also fundraised for the community.

“Ten percent of what we make will be going to the Haymarket Food Pantry,” said Kevin Osworth, one of the league’s board members and coach of the Cyclones. “The rest is going toward equipment and the facilities.”

The league spends between $5,000 to $10,000 annually to maintain their fields at Tyler Elementary School. The softball league also uses the fundraising money to keep dues low for players.

“Surprisingly, everything is going well – even with the rain. I think Bat Bonanza is a really good confidence-builder for the girls,” said microphone controller Cory Cripe.

Abbie Hurdle with the Tidal Waves explains that every girl gets two chances at bat to hit 10 balls for points.

Abbie Hurdle, a member of Tidal Waves in the Majors Division, explained the process of Bat Bonanza.

“They gave us ten softballs to hit, and once all of the girls were finished hitting, they gave us ten more. I scored 143 points – 73 points each time,” Hurdle said.

The players ask for donations in denominations of one penny or more, which are calculated per hit per team for a minimum donation of $8. However, most players received flat-rate donations not tied to hits, which were easier to collect.

Players on the Majors team Flash said they look forward to Bat Bonanza.

Flash players: (L-R) Natalie Namyak of Gainesville, Caitlin Watford of Haymark and Aniah Thurman of Bristow are excited and nervous about batting for their team.

“I’ve been playing softball since I was 6 years old. Hitting the ball and trying to see how many points I can get is my favorite part,” Natalie Namyak said.

Teammate Caitlin Watford liked the opportunity to make a personal contribution.

“It’s good to come (to Bat Bonanza) because you get to see what your personal best is,” Watford said.

According to Ralph Sinnott, Prince William County Girls Softball Little League President, there are currently 296 players in the league, and the number of participants almost doubles every year. He said the league would not be as successful without the support of 27 coaches, more than 27 assistant coaches and a board of 18 parents, who give of their time completely voluntarily.

“Every single board member, every single coach and parent will tell you, ‘It’s all about the girls,’” Sinnott said.

Besides the reward of helping their league and the food pantry, the league offered other incentives to athletes participating in Bat Bonanza.

Despite the rain, these dedicated girls donned jackets and hoodies and continued to swing for the fences.

The leading team, per division, that has the highest batting points will earn a movie night. The leading fundraising team wins a game with the Potomac Nationals, and the team members of the leading fundraising team get their names announced on the playing field. In addition, one girl from each division who raises the most money receives an iPad Mini with cover.  These prizes are above and beyond the prizes that they earn for fundraising to a certain level.

However, most of the athletes are encouraged enough by the fun nature of the event.

“They love it. Even in the middle of the rainstorm, those kids are still hitting. We provide the opportunity for teamwork that these ladies don’t always get growing up. They’ll always remember who their first coach was,” Sinnott said.

Parents agreed that it is an ideal fundraiser, one that is fun and relevant.

“What I like about it (Bat Bonanza) is it’s totally connected to their sport, so it means something,” said parent, Eileen Watford of Haymarket.


Photos by Renee Ordoobadi 

© 2013, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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