GRAFTON— Local youth baseball and softball coaches along with nearly 300 community members, gathered this past Sunday under the intense summer sun to help one of their own in a shining example of just what small towns have to offer when a family is in need.
On June 6, Clint and Oliva Shaw lost their home to a brutal fire that left their family devastated. Grafton, doing what it does best, rallied around the Shaw family to offer their help in anyway they could.
Local residents, Mike Nestor, and Julie Dowdy organized a coach’s softball tournament that would include almost all of the youth baseball and softball coaches in the county from the little league program all the way to the GHS baseball/softball staff.
The event was dubbed “The Shaw Family Benefit” and was wildly successful with family and friend comradery being the order of the day, with all proceeds from the event being donated directly to the Shaw family.
With donated gift baskets, 50/50 raffles, registration fees and a full concession stand the residents of Taylor county were able to raise over $4,300 for Shaw family to help them start to rebuild their life.
The event would pit all the coaches against each other in tournament style play. Four teams would be fielded separated by color, Gold, Red, Blue and Black.
The first match-up of the day would see the Gold team face off against a much younger Red team that would take an early lead and never look back, as they reached the final inning on top with a score of 11-8 and advancing to the final.
The second game would see the Black team going up against the heavily favored Blue team.
Sam Gerkin would set the tone for the Blue team by hitting three moon shot homers to help give them the edge and secure the victory for the Blue team and position them for a finals appearance, with an end of game score of 8-7.
The final game would live up to hype as the two winners of the day would battle until the last inning.
The Red team would jump out to an early lead and hold a slim lead for most of the game.
While the Blue team would enter the bottom of the seventh inning down 8-3.
The rally from the Blue team would begin with lead off base runners being pounded home by a Bartsel Keener home run that would clear the bases.
The Blue team continued the onslaught and as the dust settled the Blue team would emerge victorious with an epic come from behind victory and taking home the title of champion with a final score of 9-8.
The Blue team captain and co-organizer of the event Julie Dowdy had this to say after the game, “I’m extremely happy with how this event turned out! We had a small army of people behind the scenes pulling everything together in a short amount of time and the community turn out was incredible! I know the Shaw Family is very grateful for all the community support they have received over the last few weeks. Its my hope that we can organize a few events like this every year so we can help anyone in need or help fund school projects.”
The organizers would like to express their gratitude to Katy Delaplain for contributing the WVU sign for the raffle and Traci Kimbrew for making three beautiful wreaths for auction and Kristi Taylor for donating Pampered Chef cookware also for auction.