Tournament honors victim of Western Psych rampage
Amanda Giacobbi and her husband, Joe, are planning the third annual Schaab Memorial Softball Tournament in honor of their friend, Mike Schaab.
Schaab, a geriatric therapist, was killed during a 2012 shooting rampage in Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. His sister, Nancy Schaab, was fatally shot in a domestic dispute 16 months before her brother's death.
“We played softball growing up with them,” Giacobbi said. “We wanted to have something to remember their lives and memorialize them with.”
Mary Schaab of Salem, Nancy and Mike's mother, said the friends spent every Sunday either playing or watching softball games.
“One thing they all did together was play softball,” Schaab said. “They all wanted to get together to show some gratitude and appreciation after the shooting. They didn't want to lose their friendship.” And so, the Schaab Memorial Softball Tournament was born.
In addition to softball games, a concession stand and a Chinese auction, this year's tournament boasts a new competition — a home run derby. For a small fee, anyone can enter. The winner will receive a cash prize on the day of the event.
In the first two years, the tournament has raised about $20,000 and had about 32 teams playing.
The tournament serves as a fundraiser for several community charities, including a scholarship fund for students at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, the Schaabs' alma mater; an animal shelter; and Penn Township Municipal Park.
The Schaab Memorial fund always has a little money in the account to help a community member when an emergency arise, Schaab said. “We enjoy being able to help out the community,” she said. “We want to pass it forward.”
The tournament not only helps the community — it has helped the family through their loss.
“Because of the tournament, we're able to get through this a little easier,” said the Schaabs' cousin, Scott Gordon. “They were a centerpiece of the family.”
For Schaab, the tournament is a release.
“It was a little emotional before, but with everybody getting together, it just makes you feel good all over again,” she said. “I would say it brings a tear of joy because I'm really glad to see everybody come out and support it.”
The adult, coed slow-pitch tournament will be held July 27 at Penn Township Municipal Park in Harrison City. Games will start as early as 8:30 a.m. and continue throughout the day. Community members can get involved by volunteering at the event, Giacobbi said.
Alicia McElhaney is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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