The Stringer family and the Stringer Children College Scholarship Fund will be the beneficiary of the fifth annual Hitting 4 Hometown Heros co-ed slow pitch softball tournament, set for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 13-14, at the Homesteader Park softball complex in Powell.
“He had a huge impact on this community in his teaching and coaching years here,” said George Laughlin, one of the organizers of the tourney.
“I wrestled for him in high school. I’ve known the family for 13 years or so,” said Laughlin, 29, a 2003 Powell High School graduate. “This is just a way to give back to this family that has done so much for this community.”
He said he’s unsure if Stringer played softball in Powell, but he said the coach and teacher, who died of a heart attack at 44 on July 18, had played the game.
“I know at one time he did,” Laughlin said.
This will be the fifth annual tournament. The team registration fee is $200. No trophies will be awarded and there are cash prizes. The winning team will receive T-shirts with the Hitting 4 Hometown Heros logo on them as well as other prizes donated by local businesses.
There will also be home run-hitting contests for men and women, with the women hitting from second base. The charge for that is $5 for 10 swings and anyone can enter them, even if they are not part of a team in the tourney. Prizes donated by local merchants will be awarded.
The idea is to raise money for a local family after an unforeseen event created financial stress, Laughlin said.
“It started when a family friend of ours had a granddaughter who was fighting cancer and was in need of a liver transplant,” he said. “We did a softball tournament and a chili feed to raise money for those expenses,” he said. “Everyone had a great time and thought is was a great cause. It became an annual event that we kept going on.”
The Laughlin family, along with some friends, formed a board that runs the event and selects each year’s recipient. The tourney has a nonprofit status, Laughlin said and donates all the proceeds to the person or persons selected as the tourney “MVP” — in this case, the Stringer family.
“We had 12 teams last year and we’re hoping for 16 this year,” Laughlin said. “We always hope for 16. We get teams from all over the place.”
Teams from Powell, Cody, Worland, Casper, Lovell, Riverton, Gillette, Thermopolis, Basin and Bridger, Mont., have entered, he said. They come for a final chance to play softball before the snow flies, to support a good cause and to have fun.
“Teams are guaranteed five games, probably closer to six, but five for sure,” Laughlin said.
Beer will be sold and a barbecue is planned at the complex at the conclusion of Saturday’s games. Dinner tickets are included in the team registration packet and the barbecue is open to the public. “Celebrity chef” George Laughlin will be master the grill for the event. That’s also when the home-run contests will be staged.
They were held in the middle of the games last year but that slowed things down, Laughlin said. This way the games can continue without a break and then people can grab something to eat and enter or watch players swing for the fences.
Teams that need help locating a sponsor, or players seeking a team are invited to contact the Laughlins, who will try to assist them. You can also go to the tourney’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/H4HHeros to read the rules and regulations and for more information.