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Mt. Pleasant-area YMCA golf classic returns for 24th year

| Wednesday, March 19, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Former Pittsburgh Pirate Steve Blass will serve as the host for 24th annual Regional Family YMCA of Laurel Highlands Celebrity Golf Classic on May 30 at Pleasant Valley Country Club.

Blass had a 10-year career as a Pirates pitcher, and in 1972 he was named to the National League All-Star Team.

He pitched two complete game wins, allowing only seven hits and two runs in 18 innings in the 1971 World Series, when he was named the winning pitcher in the Game 7 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Blass eventually joined the Pirates' television and radio broadcast team in 1983 as a part-time color commentator.

He earned a full-time position as a broadcaster in 1986.

In 1997, he was inducted into the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in North Carolina.

Blass is no stranger to the local golf course, he said.

He added it is important to athletes, such as himself, to give back to the communities that supported them.

“I believe in YMCAs. I am honored and looking forward to host something that benefits the community,” Blass said.

With the Pittsburgh Pirates hot off of a great turnaround season, event coordinator Bea Jarbeck-Burk said it would be good get a Pirate connection for the tourney.

She said Blass has donated to the event auction in the past, so she contacted him through Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Brett Keisel. Keisel served as host at a previous event, and he is friends with Blass.

Jarbeck-Burk anticipates more Pirate alumni this year with Blass planning to attend.

She also said the silent auction will be larger than in previous years.

Other celebrities who have committed to attend the event include: retired Pirates Kent Tekulve, Elroy Face, Jim Sadowski and Frank Thomas; retired Steeler Marv Kellum; current Steelers coach James Daniel; retired Cleveland Brown Bob Butts; and extreme fighting champion Rod Salka.

Jarbeck-Burk said the scramble format will begin with an 11 a.m. shotgun start.

Each team of four will be assigned a celebrity golfer.

The cost to enter is $800 per team or $200 per individual, who will be placed with a team if he or she does not have one.

“We are excited to have Steve Blass come out as our host of the tournament this year. He is a genuine, down-to-earth guy, who is a very good golfer, and just fun to be around,” Jarbeck-Burk said.

She is asking that anyone interested in becoming a sponsor should contact her at the Regional Family YMCA at 724-542-9622 by March 31 to be included in all of the event promotions.

However, other sponsors will be accepted after that time, but will miss out on some of the promotions, Jarbeck-Burk said.

All event participants will receive a gift, she said.

Team prizes will be awarded for the first- and second-place teams in the open division, and first-place team in the family division.

Family division teams are required to have at least three of the four golfers from the same family.

Prizes will also be awarded for a skill contest and hole in one contest. Davies Ford of Connellsville will award one of the hole in one contest winners with a car lease.

“In the past, our tournament has had Super Bowl champions hosting, but this will be our first World Series champion, and we are already getting calls for registration,” said Steve Simon, chief executive officer of the Regional Family YMCA of Laurel Highlands.

Kelly Vernon is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-547-5722 or