By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ------ When called on to deliver with the bases loaded and two out, the Kansas City Kansas Community College Blue Devils baseball team responded with a grand slam.
“We needed umpires for our 3rd Annual Charity Wiffleball Tournament to benefit spinal cord injury recovery efforts in Kansas City and KCKCC Coach Steve Burleson jumped at my request to help,” said Chris Smith, Spinal Cord Injury Recovery Specialist for Project Walk-Kansas City.
“Asking the squad for help was a last minute, last ditch effort to get volunteer umpires and it was a call that I couldn’t have been happier to make. Coach Burleson and 15 players from his baseball team were one of the best new additions to Project Walk Kansas City’s annual charity wiffleball tournament not only as umpires but they also ran the Home Run Derby. Well prepared and extremely helpful, they helped the tournament to run smoother than it ever has.”
The tournament also scored a home run, raising more than $10,000 for spinal cord injury recovery efforts in Kansas City. A total of 22 teams participated in the tournament held on seven fields at Community America Ballpark, home of the T-Bones.
Smith said the success of the tournament was made possible by the support of several major sponsors – The Pitch, Rellec Apparel Graphics, Lynch Real Estate, MAPS (Mid-America Peripheral Support), Find It KC!, Worlds of Fun/Oceans of Fun and Centerpiece. “Each one made key contributions that helped make the event a big success,” said Smith. In all, about 25 volunteers assisted in running the daylong event.
Next year, Smith won’t have to worry about finding umpires for the 4th annual tournament.
“We’re going to be there and see if there are more ways we can help,” said Burleson. “It’s really a good event.”