The rain held off on Sunday as 17 teams of softball players gathered at Western Hills, Cooney and Mattera fields for a double elimination co-ed softball tournament, led by Thirsty Beaver co-owner City Council Vice President Ed Brady.
Beginning at 9 a.m., more than 200 players were ready and eager for a day of softball to raise funds for the upcoming senior proms at Cranston High School East and Cranston High School West.
Plans call for the proms – which were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic – to go on this year, and members of the community have been helping to raise much-needed funds to hold the events outdoors, with COVID-19 protocols in place, at Cranston Stadium in June. Final details for both the proms and graduation ceremonies are still in the works.
More than $4,000 was raised in all, including through entry fees from the various teams. The rosters included Cranston Police officers, city officials, teachers, students and others in the community. All teams were required to have at least four women in the game.
The event was presented by Sobieski and was organized by Frank Giuffrida of the Thirsty Beaver.
“It was a truly special day filled with many smiles and a lot of joy,” Brady said.
The day was full of excitement and fun for both players and spectators. The sounds of the season could be heard throughout the daylong tournament – as could friendly teasing among the players.
“As we continue to navigate through the end of this pandemic and we see light at the end of the tunnel, more than 200 people came out in unity to support of our Cranston senior class. Today was about making sure these students have the proper send-off that they deserve after the incredibly difficult year they endured,” Brady said.
Participating teams were Team Lammis Vargas, Tutt, Cranston Republican Party, Q Crew, Ruff Riders, Café Tropical (from Eden Park Elementary School), Eye On The Prize, The Renegades, The Dumpstars, Kathleen, Will F, Cranston Police Department, Bad News Briggs (Cranston Public Schools), Hakuna Matata, Cranston Care Bears, Spiral Squad and The Donkeys (Democratic City Committee).
“I’m proud of our Cranston community and I am thankful that we all continue to rally together when it is needed the most,” Brady said. “I would like to thank our team at the Thirsty Beaver Pub & Grub, our Cranston teachers, students, administration, Democratic and Republican community leaders, Mayor Ken Hopkins, our Cranston Fire, Cranston Police and everyone who came out in support of our students today. Days like today surely make me hopeful of a brighter tomorrow.”
Seeing that prom will be held outdoors, items such as a dance floor, tables and chairs are needed to let students enjoy the full experience in their final major social event of high school. Now with prom and graduation around the corner, they’re geared up and ready to take their last few months of high school head-on.
“This is their last year of their friendships together, a lot of them are going away to college, off to work, so this is a time for them to make everlasting bonds and we want them to experience that,” Giuffrida said.
“Today was filled with softball, friends and fun,” Mayor Ken Hopkins said. “We played to support bringing back proms and we also go to feel a little bit or normalcy in the process. Thank you, Edward Brady, and all who helped make today possible. Cheers to all who will be sore the next few days.”
Finishing in first place was team Hakuna Matata, which received a trophy and a $200 Thirsty Beaver gift card. The second-place team was Team Q Crew, while Team Lammis Vargas finished third.
Another event to support proms, a trivia night, will be held at the Thirsty Beaver on April 27 at 6 p.m. It will be hosted by Luke Renchan.
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