02/25/07 — Softball tournament raises money for Relay for Life

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Softball tournament raises money for Relay for Life

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on February 25, 2007 2:06 AM

When Conner Davis stepped to the plate Saturday afternoon, she wasn't just swinging for the fences.

Wearing a purple T-shirt with "D. DAVIS" printed across the back, the 12-year-old was swinging for her grandfather, Dick, too.

"I'm just thankful he's alive," she said.

Conner and other members of the Wayne County Hurricanes hosted more than 30 teams at the Nahunta Softball Complex this weekend to raise money for Relay For Life.

The team traded in its red uniforms for Relay-purple and replaced their names with those of family members or loved ones who are fighting, have beaten or lost the battle against cancer.

"I'm a cancer survivor myself," team president Keith Edgerton said. "It's something I hope maybe not in my lifetime, but in my kids' lifetime, we can take care of."

He decided last fall it was time for the Hurricanes to join the fight.

So with the help of his friends, Mike and Beth Van Horn, he set up this weekend's softball tournament -- one he projects will raise more than $15,000.

"It's good to get involved with the community like this," Edgerton said. "Everybody has really come together."

Van Horn said he jumped at the chance to help organize the event -- his sister is a breast cancer survivor thanks to the support of people like those in the stands Saturday.

"She's still with us, thank God," he said.

But the Hurricanes weren't the only organization to field teams for the event. In fact, the Johnston County Clippers traveled east for the cause -- substituting pink breast cancer awareness jerseys for their traditional green and navy.

"I'm glad to be here playing for cancer research," 10-year-old Mackenzie Phillips said. "My teacher has cancer and I want her to get better."

Charley Cox was playing for her aunt, Phyllis Edwards. And the 10-year-old played well for her, too.

"It felt good to win," she said.

When Hurricane first baseman Kayla Ormond took to the field, she was wearing two jerseys -- "M. FARRELL" printed on one and "H. LEWIS" on the other.

Her father, Bill, said she was excited to represent two family friends on the diamond.

"They are both victims of cancer and we're proud to honor them today," he said. "We're real glad we could come out and do this for them."

Taylor Raye, 11, was wearing Edgerton's name on her back and played "extra hard" in her uncle's honor.

She was happy that money from the tournament was going toward cancer research but admitted the day was still about softball, too -- you can't just turn off the dugout chants, cheers and head-hanging because you are playing for a good cause.

"I'm proud to be here," Taylor said. "But I still want to win."

All money raised Saturday through the sale of bracelets, concessions, silent auction items and team registration costs will go to the Hurricanes Relay team, "Canes for a Cure -- Working to Strike Out Cancer."