University of Virginia School of Law students hosted teams from 37 law schools and raised a record $37,500 for charity over the weekend as part of the 40th annual North Grounds Softball League Invitational.
NGSL will donate $35,000 of the proceeds to ReadyKids, a local nonprofit that provides early childhood learning programs and other services for disadvantaged children, and $2,500 to UVA Law’s Public Interest Law Association to support students working in public service jobs over the summer.
Doyle Tuvesson ’23 was this year’s NGSL commissioner, and John Brown ’23 and Jackson Makanikeoe Grubbe ’23 were tournament directors. Shivani Arimilli ’23 was deputy tournament director, and second-year students Rachel Lia and Sally Levin were head field monitors.
Rain caused major disruptions for the first time in 15 years, which forced fields to close and brackets to be rearranged, but Brown and Grubbe said the NGSL leaders were “unsung heroes.”
“Shivani was crucial in reworking the brackets and coordinating with teams to add extra exhibition games despite the chaos. Sally and Rachel organized the volunteers to report scores and direct teams to their games,” the directors said. “We could not have made this event happen without these three.”
UVA Co-Rec Gold defeated William & Mary alumni to win the co-rec final, and Florida State University College of Law alumni bested University of Richmond School of Law for the Open League title. Chris Ruckdeschel of the University of Florida Levin College of Law won the home run derby, with 14 dingers in a tiebreaker.
“It was really amazing to get this tournament through its 40th iteration despite the many challenges that the weather presented us this year,” Brown said. “ReadyKids does amazing work in our community, and getting to help them do that while also putting on a really fun event is the most rewarding role I’ve had in law school.”
UVA Co-Rec Gold and Richmond Law Red opened the tournament with an opening pitch by UVA President Jim Ryan ’92.
In addition to 90 volunteers, more than 1,000 law students journeyed to Charlottesville for the event and featured 52 teams in total from law schools across the Eastern half of the United States, stretching from Michigan to New England to Mississippi.
Grubbe recalled how, unrelated to weather, one team dropped out of the tournament that morning, but 22 UVA Law students in 30 minutes stepped up to take their place. He called the event’s success a team effort.
“I am actually quite bad at softball — I have struck out twice in our slow-pitch league — so my initial interest in the tournament was to help raise money for ReadyKids,” he said. “We visited ReadyKids earlier this year, and hearing about how much they do for children and families in Charlottesville motivated us to do whatever we could to put on a great tournament.”
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.