Tate High School donned pink Monday evening as cars lined the streets for the 7th Annual Strike Out Cancer game at Charlene Varnell Field.
While the Aggie softball team hosted West Florida in junior varsity and varsity games, silent auctions, concessions and pink donation booths were flooded with support for a cause that has affected most in some way.
“We have to treat this like it’s a big game for us, because it’s easy to get distracted with all the festivities,” Tate head coach Melinda Wyatt said. “It’s a big night for us and we raised lots of money. I’m proud of the kids and I’m thankful to West Florida for bringing us a big check.”
Jaguars head coach Jessica Smith and her team announced a $5,000 donation to the cause during pre-game festivities. Smith said her team spent weeks in advance preparing their donation.
“All the girls got together and went out,” Smith said. “We started a GoFund me page. Each of the girls set a personal goal for themselves.”
The star Jaguar performer was junior Ealon Pyle, who raised almost $1,200 by herself in support of her “memaw.”
“She set a goal for her memaw, and she out-fundraised all of us,” Smith said. “It was really nice to be able to give back for a great cause.”
As of press time, the donation total at Monday’s event was $11,870, but that number is expected to eclipse $12,000 once concession totals are added later in the night. If proceeds do exceed $12,000, the 2016 Strike Out Cancer event would beat out last year’s total.
“It makes me happy and sad at the same time that we have so many people in our lives that have been affected by cancer,” Wyatt said. “What we give back, we hope it’s going to help.”
On the diamond, Tate starter Savannah Rowell hurled a complete game, allowing just two hits and striking out 12 along with two walks.
After two scoreless innings, Tate strung together a two-out rally in the third inning, putting six consecutive batters on base and driving in five of them.
“We didn’t show up offensively and we had a few miscues tonight,” Smith said. “It kinda cost us a few runs, but we have to be a better disciplined team at the plate than we were tonight.”
The Aggies were led at the plate by Kristin Quina and Ashley Barnett’s three RBIs. Quina finished 2-4 with a double while Barnett cleared the bases with a single and fielder’s choice in the third inning.
“You can’t come out a winner all the time, but we raised money for a great cause and had fun doing it,” Smith said.
Tate 7, West Florida 1
WFHS…000 001 0 — 1 2 1
THS…005 002 X – 7 9 0
WP – Savannah Rowell (7 IP, 1 R (0 ER), 2 H, 12 K, 2 BB). LP – Farrah Nicholas (4 IP, 5 R (4 ER), 7 H, 3 K, 3 BB). Tate hitters – Kristin Quina 2-4 2B, 3 RBIs, R; Ashley Barnett 1-2 3 RBIs; Morgan Bolen 1-2 2B, RBI, 2 BB. West Florida hitters – Haile Bell 1-3; Keyana Norman 1-2 BB, SB.