TERRE HAUTE —
In 2013, Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America complex has been and will continue to be a busy place.
The four-diamond facility is serving as host for 15 fastpitch tournaments, including the recently concluded Braves Bash for high school teams (won by Roncalli), in addition to a junior varsity/varsity high school doubleheader coming up Monday. That doubleheader — pitting Clay City vs. North Central — will start with the JV contest at 5 p.m.
As of Monday afternoon, varsity records of these teams were 8-2 for Clay City and 7-3 for North Central, so this should be a competitive, high-quality matchup. But what’s unique about this is the reason that North Central gave up a home game and ticket sales to move this to the MSA complex in Terre Haute. It’s being billed as the “Battle for Bob” in reference to 45-year-old Bob Price, a youth softball coach for 13 years and MSA board member who’s battling Stage 4 tonsil cancer.
“When North Central was contacted, their [athletic director Ryan Kamman] and their head coach [Erica Ketner-Arnold] willingly gave up their gate and their concessions to bring this game to Terre Haute’s Miss Softball America,” said Darrell Williams, the Terre Haute MSA’s public relations director. All of that gate and all of that concession money [plus money from T-shirt sales] will go to Bob Price and his family to help with their medical expenses.”
Price and his wife, Angie, have three daughters — Kayla, who played softball for Terre Haute South a few years ago; Brianna, a former South softballer who’s now a senior third baseman/second baseman at Clay City; and Alexis, a freshman first baseman/designated player/pitcher at Clay City.
“Bob’s always been a fixture around [MSA],” Clay City coach Jason Sinders told the Tribune-Star. “I’ve known him going on 10 years now. Great guy.”
“He’s currently taking some treatments,” Williams said of Price and his condition. “But I’m sure Bob will be here April 22, God willing.”
Williams said Price coaches the Outkast 16-and-under travel team out of Terre Haute, so his softball connections are not limited to Clay City.
“As for the North Central connection,” Williams explained, “there are a lot of girls who have gone through the North Central program and who are in the North Central program who know Bob, who have played under Bob or have played with his daughters.”
Williams predicted there will be “a ton of people” on hand to root for Price, adding that a silent auction is on the agenda for Monday.
“Both teams will be wearing special uniforms that have ‘Battle for Bob’ on them,” Williams mentioned. “During the game, they’re going to be auctioned off. One hundred percent of that money goes to Bob. We’ve also got a racing package from Rahal Racing [for the auction].”
“Battle for Bob” tickets cost $5 in advance and $7 at the gate.
“I’ve known Bob ever since I got involved in softball almost seven years ago,” Williams said. “Bob’s a great guy. Bob will give you the shirt off his back to help you out and do things for you. When it comes to softball, Bob’s there for his girls — not just his own girls, but any girl who wants to learn the game of softball. He’s an instructor. He helps girls with pitching. He helps girls with hitting.”
“Clay City softball is just so honored to be involved in this and to be able to help with this,” Sinders added.
For more information about Monday’s festivities, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Another important event on the MSA schedule is the fourth annual “Swing For A Cure,” which will consist of tournaments for 8-under, 10-under, 12-under and 14-under girls travel teams Friday through Sunday.
Williams said 38 teams, including several from Terre Haute and the Wabash Valley, have entered.
“In the first three years, we have raised over $30,000,” the MSA’s website said of the event. “The money has gone to the families of players, a player’s mom, an umpire, all to help with expenses that they incur battling cancer. And last year, we included [and will again this year] the Mary Card Harbaugh Nursing Scholarship at Indiana State University. Mary, a nurse herself, lost her battle with breast cancer in 2011 and her family established the scholarship.”
Williams said the “Cure” tournament raised $14,000 in 2012. Among this year’s financial beneficiaries are Price; Shellie Swain, mother of Terre Haute South softball player Jackie Swain; and 15-year-old Deja Jones, a Warren Central High School sophomore softball player.
“Deja also played for the Indy Edge [travel] team,” Williams noted. “She played at a very high level.”
Williams hopes Jones can attend portions of the tournament — Warren Central is slated to visit Terre Haute North on Saturday — but her health may prevent it.
“Deja has an inoperable form of brain cancer,” he explained, adding that she’s been confined to a wheelchair of late.
As will be the case with the “Battle for Bob” day, “Swing For A Cure” festivities will include a silent auction. Admission for “Swing For A Cure” is $7 for each day or $10 for the entire tournament.
“We do what we can for our softball community,” Williams stressed. “There are bigger organizations and bigger fundraisers and they’ll help more of the masses, but we’re going to help our softball people.”