It’s been seven years since Manitowoc Lincoln athletic director John Johnson faced the toughest event any parent can face — the loss of a child.
Johnson’s son, Brady, passed away on May 3, 2007, at the age of 11 due to complications with Cerebral Palsy.
Wanting to celebrate the life of a child who loved life and sports — and baseball most of all — Johnson, along with the Lincoln baseball program, created the Brady Johnson Baseball Blast, an eight-hour baseball marathon with events for the whole family.
The sixth-annual event, to be held today from 4 p.m.-midnight, will raise money going to the Brady Johnson Scholarship, awarded to deserving student-athletes each spring at Lincoln High School.
“The word of mouth along with the generosity of those involved has been phenomenal,” said Johnson. “People have reached out to us across the area asking to become involved, it’s humbling.”
Even though most of the athletes participating this year never met Brady, Johnson says his son’s memory still has touched them in one way or another.
“These kids want to do this every year,” stated Johnson. “The human spirit tends to shine through in tough times and everyone involved wants to honor Brady while coming together for a great cause, he really brought this community together.”
Events planned are a Ships baseball intra-squad game, parent-student baseball game, adult home run derby, co-ed slow pitch softball game, Ships fast pitch softball against the Ships baseball team, faculty versus student slow pitch softball game and a Ships baseball alumni game. For the kids, there will be a bounce house, face painting, running of the bases, a home run derby and radar gun pitching.
The Milwaukee Brewers baseball club mascot Bernie Brewer and of the racing sausages will be making an appearance along with the Wisconsin Timber Rattler’s baseball mascot Fang and alumni players of the Brewers.
More information may be found at http://www.bradysbaseballblast.com.
“This is truly a family event,” added Johnson. “I encourage everyone to come down and have a great time watching baseball and spending time together as a community.”