Above: Katie Franklin, right, of the Ice Cold Pitchers makes it to first base ahead of the throw that was dropped by Bob Yefchak from the Winooski Moose Lodge team, during the Freezing Fun For Families Winter Co-ed Softball Tournament on Saturday. At left: Colin Pomer of the Winooski Moose Lodge team dives for home plate (a cone) behind Ice Cold Pitchers catcher Angela Corey.
The Moonshiners weren’t kidding.
The spirited group of young 20-somethings kept a large mason jar containing their team’s namesake close at hand. Like all softball players worth their salt, this crew knows how to tailgate. And Saturday afternoon at the Barre Town Recreation Fields, they were among the hundreds of locals mixing their philanthropy with fun.
“It’s for a good cause and it’s a lot of fun all in one,” said Shelby Hudson, a 23-year-old from East Montpelier.
The Freezing Fun for Families Winter Co-Ed Softball Tournament legged into its second day Saturday as participants took their skills to the snow-covered diamonds.
Dubbed by no less an authority than the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest snow softball tournament on earth, this year’s event is poised to raise more than $20,000 for families of children with cancer.
Judy Perdue, decked out in the same florescent-green sweatshirt as the rest of her Mulligan’s teammates, has been playing in the tournament since it was founded in 1999.
“The fact that it’s for kids, that it’s to help families that need it the most — that’s what keep me coming back,” Perdue said.
The rec fields assumed a carnival-like atmosphere over the weekend as the three-day tournament got under way Friday. The event drew 68 teams, each of which contributed at least $250 to the cause.
The enthusiasm for sport here was eclipsed only by the players’ thirst for adult beverages. And sales of plastic pink cups — they went for 50 cents apiece — were fueling the fundraising efforts.
“People are being really good about using the cups for their drinks,” said Vergennes resident Judy Morse, one of the event’s organizers.
Discretion is among the unwritten rules followed at a place where a Domino’s delivery car could be seen dropping off multiple orders to various pickup trucks parked in a lot that had filled to capacity by early morning.
With six games going simultaneously, the double-elimination tournament was a hive of activity from its first game at 7 a.m. to the end of the last at 10:45 p.m.
Dressed head to toe in camouflage, the Moonshiners didn’t fare well in their first-round outing Saturday morning.
“We lost miserably,” Brad Biron said of his team’s 7-0 defeat.
Robin MacAuley said her Mulligan’s team didn’t fare any better, going down 4-0 in their first effort.
“But it’s about helping people that really need it,” MacAuley said. “And we’re having fun doing it.”
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