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Softball players set to swing for fences at Municipal Stadium

September 04, 2013|By BOB PARASILITI | bobp@herald-mail.com

The fourth annual Hub City/Maryland Softball Show/Greene Turtle Home Run Derby will be a day late, but won’t be a dinger short.

The charity exhibition of power hitting at Municipal Stadium has been moved to Sunday, instead of its normal Saturday night, but will provide more bangs for the bucks.

The uncertainty of the Hagerstown Suns’ playoff schedule forced the event, featuring some of softball’s best power hitters in the Mid-Atlantic, to wait a day. That ended up being a good thing.

“We felt bad we couldn’t do it on the regular day, but we picked up so many more hitters because it will be on Sunday,” said Hub City Softball League president Doug Levine. “We lost a couple because of it, but we got back many more.”

The exhibition will feature local amateurs and touring pro players, who will try to launch softballs out of the minor league baseball field.

For the fourth year, all proceeds will benefit a local serviceman — SGT Ryan Sechrist, a 26-year-old from Williamsport, who is serving with the Army’s 576th engineering company.

The event has a special place in the hearts of the servicemen it has helped.

“Kevin Jaye, who we supported last year, is coming back after having his 14th operation,” Levine said. “He and his family are coming home and he will be throwing out the first pitch. Justin Langlotz — the serviceman who we honored the first year — will be on hand to catch that pitch. They are all coming back and becoming part of our family.”

The event will begin at 2 p.m. with an exhibition game between Sports 55 (a team of pros) vs. Red-Eye Sports (a team of local players).

It will be the prelude before Municipal Stadium turns into a launching pad.

“It’s bigger than last year,” Levine said. “This year, for example, we have eight women competing, compared to three last year. We have about 50 players playing this year, compared to 42 last year.”

The field will feature Corey Boothe, Chris Gienert and Ryan Parfitt. The trio earned first-team All-American honors at the recent Men’s Class A World Championships in Florida. Boothe and Grienert played on the the championship team.

Boothe returns for the first time since winning the inaugural event in 2010. Grienert, a Maryland native, will fly in from Wyoming to hit for the second straight year. Parfitt hails from the Philadelphia-New Jersey area.

The money will be used to help send some comfort to 14 soldiers in the company in the form care packages, which will include socks, powders, plastic bags, baby wipes, peanut butter and jerky to help get them through their deployment.

Each hitter will get 10 outs — all non-home runs — worth of pitches to attempt to drive softballs over the baseball-distance fences. The top hitters will advance to a final round to decide the championship.

Admission to the contest is free, but Hub City Softball will accept donations.

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