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5th annual merchant game on!

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In what has become an annual tradition, the Throggs Neck and Westchester Square merchants will take on one another in a charity game to benefit local causes.

The Fifth Annual Merchants Charity Softball game that pits the merchants associations against one another in a good-natured rivalry will take place at the Throgs Neck Little League field on Friday, September 20 at 7 p.m., with the rain date Saturday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m.

This year’s beneficiaries from the fundraising, including approximately $100 for each player on both of the teams, will be Preston High School for Girls and the Jacobi Medical Center Auxiliary, said event organizer Joe Regina of the Bronx Chamber of Commerce. Regina has played a key role in organizing the event over the past five years.

“Each year this event keeps gaining more momentum,” said Regina, adding that the timing is shifting from the summer to the fall because it is less likely to rain and more temperate.

“There is going be a 50/50 raffle, a dunk-tank, and there is also going to be a place where people can give blood donations,” said Regina. “Any businesses or organizations that want to sponsor the game and have a table at the event can do so by making a donation.”

Preston High School was picked as one of the beneficiaries, he said, because the students are very active in the community and amongst the merchants in terms of volunteerism.

Steve Kaufman, president of the Throggs Neck Merchants Association, indicated that selecting Jacobi Medical Center as a charity was because of the crucial role it plays the community.

“It is a nice competition where we get all the merchants involved from both areas, and it brings people from the community,” said Kaufman. “Of course, we need to develop relationships between the merchants and the community, and some important facilities in the community like Preston High School and Jacobi Medical Center.”

He also called the game a great networking event, and said that it was open for all to attend free of charge.

For Greg Perry Jr. from Crown Trophy in the Square, this will be the third year he has played and said he is glad to be giving back in this way because he is very athletic.

“It is definitely a great experience,” he said. “They make it like the big leagues, the national anthem is sung, there’s great food and it’s a great field, there are a lot of people and churches that come out to support the event.”

He added: “It is a very family oriented event, and it is something that I feel personally should gain more exposure than it does.”

Perry, whose father Greg Perry Sr. is president of the Westchester Square Merchants, said that the blood drive is another way that attendees and players can give back.

“It is definitely optional,” Perry Jr. said of the blood drive. “It is just another way to give back.”

Last year’s game resulted in a tie, with Westchester Square and Throggs Neck merchants teams playing for a donation to the Throgs Neck Little League.

Patrick Rocchio can be reach via e-mail at procchio@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3393
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