Softball Tournament Sets Fundraising Record
Students raised a record $18,000 for a local nonprofit during the 25th annual North Grounds Softball Invitational over the weekend.
Despite the threat of bad weather, a total of 112 softball teams representing 49 law schools from across the country met in Charlottesville to participate.
"One team came from as far as Iowa," said third-year law student Zak Adams, head commissioner of the North Grounds Softball League. "Vermont and Florida were also represented."
On Saturday, organizers presented $18,000 in tournament proceeds to Children, Youth and Family Services, a Charlottesville-based group that serves at-risk children.
"I can tell you that this donation is the largest single individual donation to our agency this year," said CYFS Executive Director Jackie Bryant. "We rely on donations, and all of the dollars will go to support direct services to children in this community."
For the past nine years, CYFS has been the primary recipient of tournament funds. Past tournaments raised a total of $68,500 for the organization, Bryant said.
The weekend games were spread out over 10 area softball fields and a total of about about 1,500 law students played ball.
"Basically every softball field in Charlottesville is taken up with this thing," Adams said.
UVA Men's Gold came out on top in the men's division, defeating Regent Law School 7-6 in a rematch of last year's final.
In the co-rec division, UVA Co-Rec Gold lost in the semifinals to Penn State's Dickinson Law School. Florida Coastal Law School took the championship.
Bad weather didn't wash out the event, but a rainy Sunday did cause some last-minute changes, according to tournament director Kyle Schindler.
Despite early predictions of certain rain on Friday and Saturday, the weather held off and the first round of games was able to go forward as planned, Schindler said.
"Given that schools were traveling from as far away as Iowa, St. Louis, Florida, and Massachusetts, we were grateful that everyone was able to get on the field this much," he said.
The good fortune didn't hold out for Sunday, however, when rain limited play to two fields. As a result, only the top-seeded teams from the early rounds were able to play and games were limited to 30 minutes.
Still, there were positives to playing on a rain-soaked grass field, Schindler said.
"Some, including myself, actually had a great time playing on the muddy field, diving head first into bases, and basically getting dirty playing outside like we were 6-year-olds again," he said.
"We were even fortunate that UVA was nice enough to let us use the grass fields, given how much rain fell on Sunday morning, and we appreciate the efforts of the umpires and grounds crews to facilitate our completion of the tournament."
Both Schindler and Adams praised the efforts of the Virginia law students who helped make the event a success.
"I think there was over 150 UVA students that ended up being involved and making sure it ran smoothly. Kyle and [tournament director] Alison [Ferguson] were at the top, but everybody chipped in," Adams said.
Tournament officials also made a $3,000 donation to the Public Interest Law Association.