Travel softball team twists tournament tradition

The winning team, making the most food drive donations: Kalamazoo Klash 11U Nagy.

The Vicksburg Bulldog travel softball team gathered to play an early-October round robin in Portage, hosting the annual Strike-Out Hunger Fall Round Robin tournament, with each team playing three games, each seven innings or 75 minutes. Thirty Michigan teams participated, including one from Brimley in the Upper Peninsula.     

The annual tournament was previously run by the Kalamazoo Kings and the Abnet family from Vicksburg before it folded last year. Mike Mottl, a Vicksburg resident started the tournament and coached for the Kings. Vicksburg’s athletic director, Mike Roy, took over the tournament and expanded its reach.
Teams this year were again asked to make food donations—a friendly competition—to win half off their entry fee, a $155 savings. This competition made a huge local impact: The result was a 4,000-pound donation to Generous Hands, one of the two largest since Generous Hands’ inception in 2004.

Roy explained, “We use this opportunity to explain to the kids how blessed they are to be able to play this beautiful game and that some people face difficult situations.”

Sunday evening, four truck loads arrived at Generous Hands back door. Scrambling to find volunteers, Generous Hands Director Sheri Louis said, “It has been a whirlwind of activity at Generous Hands for the last several days to sort and organize.”

“We want the girls to realize the impact they are making by gathering donations to help those in need.” Roy said. “It shows them the impact they are making. This is the winning team.”

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