NAPPANEE – It was a rousing success in terms of getting the initiative off the ground. NorthWood hopes year two will continue to see its baseball team do the good work.
The Boys of Spring from Wanee had a great 2018 season, winning a sectional title and playing an exciting brand of baseball along the way. The 2019 outfit looks to provide more of the same, which will include its team fundraiser that had an extraordinary level of success a year ago in its trial run.
NorthWood baseball partnered with the Jason Motte Foundation (JMF) in raising funds and awareness against cancer. The team chose JMF to couple with the Warren brothers – Hunter and Sawyer – as they dealt with the loss of their sister-in-law to mesothelioma. The tie-in came from the baseball theme to which Motte, a former Major League Baseball pitcher, ran his ‘Strike Out Cancer’ objectives. Motte doesn’t angle toward one specific cancer in his campaign, but offering support for anyone, whether they have breast cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma or otherwise.
NorthWood baseball head coach AJ Risedorph was overwhelmed by how well his program did with its maiden campaign, raising $11,488.41 last year. While the team had a direct cause with the Warren family, others within the program were impacted as well with family members in their own fights. For this season, Risedorph chose to have the team align with Kim Sellers, a teacher in the Bremen School Corporation, but the wife of NorthWood athletic director Norm Sellers.
“The choice for me was very easy,” stated Risedorph. “Obviously, I wanted to be sensitive to the Sellers family and their situation, so I wanted to approach it the same way I did with the Warren family. First, I wanted to make sure that it would be okay to acknowledge their story publicly. In doing so, I wanted to be sure that Kim, Norm, and all three boys would be okay with it.
“Kyle Sellers, a sophomore second baseman on our JV, is a fierce competitor. I think for him, it is important that baseball is his outlet. Our program is here to support him in that effort. Secondly, it is still important to recognize the other baseball families and ties to our program who have fought or are currently fighting cancer. This is the biggest reason why we wanted to team up with JMF again. So that we can safely and comfortably honor everyone.”
The team will again be collecting donations throughout the season, and picked an appropriate date, April 27, against Bremen as its Strike Out Cancer game. The JV and varsity teams from NorthWood and Bremen will play a ‘doubleheader’ on the NorthWood varsity field with some festivities surrounding the game.
“There were teams who did their own collections for us. It was amazing,” Risedorph said, referring to teams like Elkhart Memorial and South Bend St. Joe that combined to raise over $1,000 for the cause. “We were blown away by the support last year from people from various communities and baseball programs.”
One hundred percent of the donations made to NorthWood baseball goes directly to JMF, which then distributes monies to cancer centers and individual patients throughout the country.
For those wishing to donate to the cause, find this form for NorthWood’s part with the Jason Motte Foundation, or attend any game and donate directly to any player or coach in the NorthWood program.