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Softball tournament at Allied Waste Sports Complex to donate proceeeds to girl battling leukemia

| Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Eight softball teams will be on the diamond Saturday and Sunday for a tournament at the Allied Waste Services Sports Complex.

Sure, the competitive juices will be flowing as each team strives to win the title of this double-elimination competition, but this tournament will be played for a cause.

The sixth annual Pitch-In, One-Pitch Tournament will be donating all of the proceeds to Sydney Hawk. Sydney, 4, is suffering from leukemia.

“We decided this year to do it for Sydney Hawk,” said Tawnia St. Amant, an organizer of the tournament. “It's obviously a big part of this community and her grandfather (Joe Hawk) taught at (Southmoreland) elementary school for so long. We've done a lot of different charities and this year we decided to bring it a little closer to home.”

First pitch is expected to be thrown at 9 a.m. Saturday. The games usually run about seven innings with a one-hour time limit. There is no attendance fee for those who wish to watch the games.

St. Amant said the tournament has donated to a different charity each year of its existence such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association. In 2012, funds were raised for Hair Piece Charities, which raises money to help women and girls buy wigs while undergoing chemotherapy treatment for any type of cancer.

Each team pays a $250 entrance fee to participate in the tournament. Each roster is limited to 15 players and all squads must have a minimum of four females in the field at all times.

“It's a co-ed tournament,” St. Amant said. “Everything is donated. The food in the concession stand from the (Greater Scottdale Girls Softball League) from the end of their season. Whatever they have left they donate. The umpires donate their time....A lot of people from the softball league are a big part of it. They'll come out and work the concession stands for us and help out.”

The slow-pitch tournament is played in a one-pitch format, meaning a batter sees only one pitch per at bat. Each batter comes to the plate with a 3-2 count.

“It's actually pretty competitive,” said Mandy Schnorr, St. Amant's sister. “More competitive than I thought it would be.”

St. Amant and Schnorr were instrumental in starting the tournament in 2008. They finished their season in the women's division in the Greater Scottdale Girls Softball League, but weren't ready to put away their bats and gloves for the year.

“We decided to organize it as best we could. We sent out letters to everyone in the community, asking if they could donate anything at all,” St. Amant said. “It's a lot of fun. It's really grown. The first year we only had about five or six teams, then every year we would get more.”

Schnorr recalled that an acquaintance at the time was battling leukemia, so the proceeds from the first tournament went to the fight against that disease.

“We wanted to raise money for leukemia, we had a lot of help, so we decided to do it every year,” Schnorr said. “Every year we wanted to benefit someone else.”

This year that is Sydney Hawk and the organizers of the tournament said that has spurred on support from a number of sponsors.

“We've gotten a much bigger response this year than any other year,” Schnorr said. “The other charities we do it for are nice, but this year we have a face and a person who's going to benefit from it. That makes it a lot nicer.”

Something else that seems to be shaping up mighty nicely thank you is the money that will be raised. Schnorr said as of Aug. 18, $1,200 was raised on entry fees alone.

“We have people donating more than we ever had in the past,” Schnorr said.

Also taking place during the tournament will be a raffle auction, with prizes including tickets to a Pirate game, an autographed picture of Pittsburgh Steeler Troy Polamalu, as well as Penguin-themed prizes.

“A lot of people from the community will donate baskets, some people donate bottles of water. That's how we get everything,” St. Amant said.

Every team is provided T-shirts. The team that emerges victorious for the weekend also will receive One-Pitch Tournament Champion T-shirts.

“We ask that all the checks are made out to the Hawks,” St. Amant said. “Everything goes right to them.”

Donations can be made by people who do not plan to attend the tournament. Checks can be made to Joe Hawk and sent to Mandy Schnorr at 202 W. Washington Ave., Connellsville, PA 15425.

Paul Paterra is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-887-6101 or ppaterra@tribweb.com.

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