The real winners in the Third Annual Merchant Charity Softball Game were charities.
The Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay Merchants took home the championship trophy for the third time, beating merchants from Westchester Square and Morris Park by a score of 13 to 8 after seven innings on Saturday, July 30. The game took place at the Throgs Neck Little League Field, after a rain out on Friday, July 29.
The win should not overshadow the fact that all the merchants groups raised money for worthy charities from $100 sponsorships of each player, as well as other donations, said Throggs Neck Merchants Association president John Cerini.
Charities included the American Cancer Society, Calvary Hospital, and three local schools: P.S. 14, P.S. 72 and P.S. 304.
“When the fundraising got off to a slow start, I honestly taught that this was going to be the last year of the annual game,” Cerini said. “But I was just speaking with Joe Regina after the game and he said that the players on his team are really pumped up, and it looks like we will be suiting up this time next year.”
Cerini and the TNMA raised just over $2,400, which the organization will donate to the three local schools. Each of the schools will receive about $600, Cerini said.
The merchant association’s efforts were helped by an anonymous donation by a community member of $250 for the cause, he stated.
“The Association of Merchants and Business Professionals of Westchester Square raised a total of $3,200 for the American Cancer Society, said team captain Joe Regina. The Morris Park Alliance helped support Calvary Hospital.
“I think overall between the four groups, for all the charities combined, we raised $6,000,” Regina said.
The Westchester Square and Morris Park team got off to an early lead in the game, but Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay pulled ahead 8 to 6 in the fifth inning, a lead that stood up.
Assemblyman Michael Benedetto pitched for the Throggs Neck and Pelham Bay team, before being injured while trying to beat a throw to first base.
“Mike Benedetto was a real warrior out there, and I think his being injured really pumped up his team and made them want to win.” Regina said. “He played valiantly.”