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Lori Brown | Democrat

Karen Birney, front, presents the first place trophy to Player/Coach Jo Walls, center, and the rest of the Charlie’s Angels team members at Saturday’s Two-Pitch Benefit Softball Tournament for the Alliance for Lupus Research.

Two-Pitch Softball Tournament supports Lupus research

By Lori Brown
GRAHAMSVILLE — June 8, 2010 — On Saturday, the players of the Sullivan County Women’s Softball League (SCWSL) came together for the first annual Two-Pitch Benefit Softball Tournament to help support the Alliance for Lupus Research.
The successful event, which was held at the Grahamsville Fairgrounds, raised more than $3,000, all of which went to the Alliance for Lupus Research.
The event included 50/50 drawings (in which the winners donated the money back to the cause), raffles and refreshments sold at the concession stand.
Fans made donations and members of the Sullivan County Softball Officials Association donated their time and money.
Area businesses that donated money included: International Roofing Company, Bethel Woods Center for the Performing Arts, Old Homestead Restaurant, Lander’s River Trips, Regina Metzner Silpada, White Sulphur Springs Inn, Second to None, Albert’s Liberty House, Jeff Bank, Catskill Hudson Bank, Thunder 102, Sullivan County Democrat, Rolling V, ShopRite in Liberty, Pioneer Water Bottling, Frito Lay, CWA Local 1120 Members, Mr. Willy’s, Robert D. LaVelle State Farm Insurance Agent, Frost Valley YMCA, CJ’s Deli in Youngsville, Peck’s Market, Frontier Insurance Company, In Rehabilitation, Times Herald-Record and Paul Hubert Woodcarving.
The seven teams that were formed included players from the following SCWSL teams: Charlie’s Angels, The Nugget, Robin Hood Diner, Cooper Paint, L&B Tack, Sonny’s, Mr. Willy’s, New Hope and Mike’s Tires.
The umpires for the games included Mary Feusner, Scott Mickelson, Steve Nash, Bill Stoddard, Carlye Hyde, Carlos Torres, Brent Lawrence and Stuart Parsons. Feusner, who was the organizer of the tournament, served as the Umpire-in-Chief.
“We are finding ways to make money for the Alliance for Lupus Research,” said Nancy Esposito, captain for Karen’s Crew, a team of friends of Karen Birney of Narrowsburg, who suffers from Lupus. “Mary Feusner suggested the [Sullivan County] Women’s Softball League, if they would have any interest in this benefit. Then it took off from there. Ninety percent of those affected by Lupus are women, so the idea of a women’s softball tournament was nice.
“Karen’s Crew started four years ago with the annual walk, [Walk with Us to Cure Lupus] which is held in New York City,” Esposito continued. “Karen Birney is affected by Lupus and her friends and family, as well as members of Karen’s Crew, attend this annual benefit. This year the Walk for Us to Cure Lupus will be held on October 16 in New York City and all are welcome. One hundred percent of the donations collected go to Lupus Research, to the organization of Alliance for Lupus Research.”
“We appreciate the SCWSL players to play and help raise money,” Esposito added. “We are hoping to do this next year.”
Feusner said, “We were thinking of what groups of woman do we work with. I went to the organizational meeting for the [Sullivan County] Women’s Softball League and talked about the tournament. I am happy the Women’s Softball League is in.
“We would like to make it a yearly event,” Feusner continued.  “The players collected money to donate. It was a good day to get money for a good cause. It is nice to watch so many people playing.”
The games started at 9 a.m. and continued all day until 6:30 p.m.
Charlie’s Angels, L&B Tack/Cooper Paint, The Nugget and New Hope/Mr. Willy’s all reached the semifinals.
L&B Tack/Cooper Paint advanced to the championship game to play Charlie’s Angels. But due to a lightning storm, the championship game was cancelled before the first inning was completed. An agreement was reached in which Charlie’s Angels, which had a record of 2-0 in the tournament, received the first place trophy. L&B Tack/Cooper Paint, which had a record of 3-1, took second place.
“I am overwhelmed by how many teams came to play and volunteered, I am truly thankful,” Karen Birney said. “I thank Mary Feusner, Pat Grimley and Nancy Esposito as they did a lot of work.”
To learn more about the Alliance for Lupus Research, please call Nancy Esposito at 292-2683 or send an e-mail to

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