PITTSFIELD, Mass. — For its second year, a local cancer fund-raiser is offering twice the opportunities to participate.
"It was all men last year, and we had a couple of people come up and say, 'How about women's softball,'" Joe DiCicco said recently. "I said, 'Yeah, I'm all for it. We'll try it.'"
So put softball on the schedule for this year's edition of Striking out Cancer in the Berkshires, the daylong fundraiser for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that DiCicco inaugurated last summer.
This year's event is scheduled for Saturday, June 18, at 9:30, again on Buddy Pellerin Field at Clapp Park.
Players can register for $15 apiece to play in either the baseball or softball game and drop in for as many innings as they'd like for informal, friendly competition on the diamond.
DiCicco said the baseball will start in the morning with the "old-timers," a group he identifies with, starting at 9:30. At 1 p.m, the baseball game will transition to the younger group, up to "45 or whatever," he said.
The softball game is scheduled to begin at about 11 a.m.
"Right now, off the top of my head, I know I have at least 30 players signed up," DiCicco said this week. "We have some coming in from out of town.
"Last year, we had people who just showed up and said, 'Can I play?' Hopefully, with word of mouth, we can get even more. And this year, we promoted it more with some flyers I put out a couple of months ago."
DiCicco said, like last year, he does not have a fund-raising target in mind. But he would like to beat the $5,500 the event raised last year
"Personally, I don't have goals," he said. "What I say is: Shoot for the stars. I was stunned when we made over $5,000 last year. I don't have a goal now, but I'd love to get over $10,000."
To help defray the cost of the event, DiCicco has received help from sponsors, including Bella Tan, Sideline Saloon and the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires.
The key now is to get players, and DiCicco says all are welcome.
"With hardly any advertising last year, we had about 45 or 50 people play," he said. "We're hoping to get that higher.
"I've had some people call and text me and ask, 'Do you have to be a baseball player?' No, you don't. It's about fun and about raising money for a good cause."