Softball tourney raises money for breast cancer


They colored it pink Saturday inside Woodlake Park in Johnston.

There were pink bases, pink softballs, and even pink base lines all courtesy of Derek Calabro, husband of Johnston Girls Softball President Lisa Calabro, who came up with the unique idea for a four-team fast-pitch tournament that raised $1,700 to benefit Breast Cancer Research.

With old man weather proving a gloriously sunny backdrop, the JGS’s travel team that plays under the banner of Rhode Island Rockets, Apponaug Pride, Bay State Blitz and Seekonk Warriors all played four 12-inning games and two 7 inning contests during what Lisa Calabro called “a tiring but rewarding 16 and a half hour day.”

“This was truly a group effort,” Lisa Calabro wanted it known. “At the end of a long, long day there were smiles on everyone’s faces.”

As equally important – and impressive – was that the girls on all four teams were extremely proud to have raised so much money considering this was our first time doing this. We want our girls to be great softball players but we also want them to be great people.”

The JGS prexy, who recently lost her father William “Bill” Sgambato during the planning stages of the first-ever event, went on, “Our girls definitely made us proud this weekend; we’re already planning for next year’s tournament.”

All of which, the husband and wife Calabro duo will attest, was great news for the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Foundation that sanctioned the unique fast-pitch tourney and also supported Saturday’s session by Pink Ribbon Pins and Pink Stickers for all the players.

Saturday’s tourney, which began with team playing nine outs at a time then switching sides to speed up the games, as Lisa Calabro explained, was also what the veteran and extremely dedicated JGS leader called “a tremendous memorial and family affair.”

“We had 10 family members of the players who were survivors or are currently fighting breast cancer throw out the ceremonial first pitch,” Lisa Calabro offered as her voice cracked with emotions of joy. “They were each given a signed pink softball by the player who served as their catcher.”

Moreover, many of the JGS players’ parents pitched in to help sell raffle tickets and worked in the busy Woodlake Park concession stand.

“Even my mother-in-law - Gena Calabro - had a special hand in the day’s success story,” Lisa Calabro went on. “She made all the wreaths and handmade items for the day’s raffle.”

Likewise, Mich Grenier made a special donation that Lisa Calabro said made it possible for our total amount of money raised to finish at $1,700. Grenier won the traditional 50-50 drawing and quickly donated would have been his share back to the organizing JGS.

In the end, the Bay State Blitz edged the JGS Rhode Island Rockets, 11-10, and staked claim to the coveted crown.

The real winner, though, was the Gloria Gemma Breast Cancer Research all because Derek Calabro – Lisa’s loving husband and father of RI Rockets standout catcher Hannah Calebro – came up with the idea and ran with it.

“He did everything,” Lisa Calabro offered. “He coordinated the playing fields, team and got the pink softballs, pink bases and pink chalk for the lines. He even had a special softball that once his by a batter exploded into pink dust.”

Saturday, Derek Calabro stepped back and watched each and every game without any fanfare. Yet, he simply smiled whenever he received well-wishes while offering: “Today was special; we now have an event that could grow and grow every year.”

And, as several people suggested, “That could without question raise more money for Breast Cancer Research.”


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