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Posted April 11, 2006

Annual Softball Invitational Raises Record $15,000 for Charity

Louise Rains and Jacki Bryant

NGSL Commissioner Louise Rains, left, presents a check to CYFS executive director Jacki Bryant.

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Although rain interrupted play Friday and Saturday, softball reigned supreme Sunday at the 23rd annual U.Va. Softball Invitational this weekend. The event drew more than 100 teams of law students and professors from 47 different law schools and has already generated $15,000 in charitable donations, with the expected total to reach nearly $20,000 after all expenses are paid.

Tournament organizers squeezed in almost 200 games despite thunderstorms Friday night and drizzling rain Saturday. U.Va. teams captured both the men’s and co-rec trophies. The U.Va. Gold team defeated the Blue team in the final round 42-9, while the U.Va. Gold co-rec team defeated Georgetown’s top team 37-4.

“Given the weather that we got, the fact that we got in so many games is amazing,” said tournament co-director Jake Isler, a third-year law student. “Sunday we just did a single-elimination tournament.”

More than 1200 players gathered at 12 different fields at the Law School and around Charlottesville to face off in the only national tournament among law schools, attracting teams from the University of Chicago, Michigan, Cornell, Boston College, Louisiana State University, and the most-road-weary team, the University of Denver, which traveled more than 2,000 miles for the event. So many schools wanted to field teams, in fact, that “we have to turn teams away,” because of the limited number of fields.

Reserving hotel rooms for all the incoming teams “is like a wedding times 10,” Isler said. The event is so large that Isler estimates a quarter of the Law School’s students are involved in either playing or organizing the tournament.

The festivities also included a barbeque and home run derby, in which male and female players had their crack at a home-run title. Washington and Lee’s Mike Germano won the male category with six homeruns, while Judith St. Clair of Florida Coastal slammed four homers.

Proceeds for the event, most of which come from law firm and BarBri sponsorship, go to charities like the Public Interest Law Association, and $10,000 will go to Charlottesville’s Children, Youth & Family Services, an organization that helps give children and families the tools they need to have a positive future through programs that teach parenting skills, encourage reading, and promote quality child care, among others.

“We’re a nonprofit agency and we rely on community support for our programs to work,” said Jacki Bryant, executive director of CYFS. “We are so proud of the partnership with the North Grounds Softball League. The dollars we received from NGSL will help us serve lots of kids with our programs, and because the funds are undesignated, they give us flexibility in putting money where it is needed most.”

Isler said he was proud of the tournament, which he felt represented the positive work-life balance that the Law School offers, and “at the end of the day you’re raising money for a good cause.”
• Reported by m. Wood

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