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Women make pitch at Run, Jane, Run

September 11, 2005|By MARIE GILBERT

By MARIE GILBERT

marieg@herald-mail.com

PINESBURG

Hours after a game, Cheryl Finchek still sees pitches flying past her bat.

"I relive every ball and strike," the softball player from Pittsburgh said. "It's like I have a replay machine in my brain."

"I'm sure a lot of domestic-violence victims have that same machine," she added. "Except it replays a lot of bad stuff."

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Finchek was among the softball players who gathered Saturday for the 14th annual Women In Sports Slo-Pitch Softball Tournament, benefiting CASA (Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused).

The event, known as Run, Jane, Run, is being held at the Pinesburg Softball Complex outside of Williamsport and will continue today starting at 8:30 a.m. with championship play.

According to Paula Keser and Jackie Kelley, tournament coordinators, 28 teams are participating in the fundraiser.

"We have local teams; pickup teams; teams from Delaware, Pittsburgh and Virginia - all having fun, but also realizing they are here for a good cause," Keser said.

The tournament has come a long way from the first year, when only four teams participated, Keser said.

"Now, we have teams who come back every year," she said. "We get a lot of compliments on how well organized this event is."

"This is CASA's major fundraiser," said Vicki Sadehvandi, executive director of the Washington County organization. "But it has really gone beyond being a fundraiser. It's people coming out and supporting a cause they believe in."

CASA is hoping to realize about $25,000 from the weekend tournament - a sum of money that Sadehvandi said will be used to provide direct services for domestic-violence victims and their families.

"So many people will be helped by this money," she said. "We receive over 20,000 hot line calls a year and our shelter is full most of the time. This is a problem that, unfortunately, is not going away."

Sadehvandi said she is appreciative of all of the work that has gone into making the tournament a reality each year.

"We have such wonderful community support, and Paula and her staff give everything in making this event a success," Sadehvandi said. "It really does send a clear message that Washington County is committed to alleviating domestic violence."

Sadehvandi said the tournament also is a way to educate the public about domestic violence.

"We have a lot of our staff and board members volunteering here today," she said. "And the message that we are spreading is that domestic violence is family violence. If one member is abused, the whole family suffers."

Sadehvandi said work will begin on next year's tournament almost immediately after today's games.

"We'll sit down and review how things went," she said. "Then in April, we'll start working on next year's event. But I'm lucky. I have a great group of dedicated people who continue to make this fundraiser a success. CASA has had wonderful, wonderful support."

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