Just over seven years ago, Manitowoc Lincoln athletic director John Johnson and his family suffered an unimaginable loss — 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 seventh-annual event, to be held Friday 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.
With Johnson leaving his position as Ships’ AD effective June 30, this could be the final Brady’s Blast but Johnson knows his son has touched countless lives even after his passing.
“This event is something the whole Manitowoc community has been able to hang their hats on,” Johnson said. “It’s truly amazing how much of an impact an 11-year-old boy can have on people he never even met.”
Throughout its’ six-year run, the Blast has given Johnson and his family a lifetime of memories.
“I just think back to 2010 when we couldn’t play in the infield so everyone agreed to play softball to keep the event going,” Johnson said. “Family is what this is all about, it’s what you remember.”
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 Wisconsin Timber Rattler’s baseball mascot Fang will make an appearance as will alumni players of the Milwaukee Brewers.
More information may be found at http://www.bradysbaseballblast.com.
Whether or not Brady’s Blast returns for an eighth year, Johnson says he hopes to still do something with the community in the future.
“We haven’t discussed specifics as a family but there are some possibilities we’re looking into,” Johnson said.