Softball players taking hits for Men’s Health Week raise £260 for Cancer Focus NI

Softball Ulster hosted its inaugural Homerun Derby on Sunday, 20th June 2021 raising £260 for Cancer Focus NI as part of Men’s Health Week. 

Over 20 men and women battled it out to reach the final round, knocking as many homeruns as they could in 3 minutes to take home prizes kindly donated by Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Sports Development team; First Prize: 2 Golf Passes to Aberdelgy Golf Club and Second Prize: 2 Golf Passes for Castlereagh Hills Golf Club.

Conditions were tough for those in the first round on Diamond 1 with a strong head wind, so we decided to take the top two from both diamonds into the final round where Amelie Viratham and James Calow smashed balls over 200 ft and 275ft respectively to be crowned winners with Barthe McCormick and Tom Napier runners up.

Jocelyn Horton, Vice-chair of Softball Ulster’s organising committee said, “we were very excited to host our first charitable Homerun Derby and give our players a chance to flex their muscles in aid of a good cause. In 2020, the pandemic severely affected our chances to play competitively and connect with our teammates, but when we got the chance, many players told us how much they had missed the game, it’s social aspects, and that taking part in the sport truly helped their mental wellbeing. So the Derby was an opportunity to have a fun contest as part of Men’s Health Week and raise vital funds for Cancer Focus NI.

The health of our players is important to us, not just their physical health, but also their mental and social health as part of our ‘SAFE: Softball Action For Everyone’ programme which focuses on creating a safe, inclusive, diverse and healthy space for all players. This time, the spotlight was on men’s health, particularly testicular cancer – hence the Derby’s cheeky subtitle ‘Check your Balls!’ So we are thrilled to be able to donate £260 to Cancer Focus NI from the Derby, raffle and donations!”

The Homerun Derby was part of the annual Carrie Trundle Cup being held at Queen Elizabeth’s Playing Fields, Ballymacoss and its success means Softball Ulster be looking to repeat it next year on the condition that we buy a net for our volunteer pitchers, something Phil Wallace will be glad to hear!

A major part of this successful event was the volunteers, from raffle ticket sellers, pitchers, catchers, scorers, timers to Homerun Derby entrants, who all combined their efforts to make for a great, fun and entertaining event.

The funds raised for Cancer Focus NI enables them to continue to provide vital services and support to those who need it, especially as charities struggled to fundraise throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Softball Ulster are glad to be a part of that!