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'Striking Out Cancer' Event Returns June 29 in Pittsfield
By Stephen Dravis, Sports
06:00AM / Thursday, June 20, 2024
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PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Four years in and still swinging for the fences, the Striking out Cancer in the Berkshires fund-raiser returns on Saturday, June 29, at Clapp Park.
The all-day baseball and women’s softball games are the brainchild of city resident Joe DiCicco, who conceived the event as a way to raise money to support the Jimmy Fund for cancer research and patient care at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
For $10, any player of any ability is welcome to join in the fun. Every participant receives a T-shirt commemorating the event.
The action gets under way at 9 a.m. with a ceremonial first pitch by a child who benefited from the Jimmy Fund.
And the game ends whenever the players run out of steam.
“I think last year, we went until 2:30 or 3 p.m.,” DiCicco said last week. “I go until people decide they’ve had enough. It can go longer. It can go shorter. I do what they want.
“You want to play all day, go ahead. You want to play a couple of innings, go ahead. It’s all for fun and all for a great cause.”
Generally, DiCicco said that the early innings are for “old-timers,” which he defines as age 50 and up. And he has had a couple of players in their 70s participate.
At about 10:15, the women’s softball game gets under way. And the “younger guys” take over on the baseball diamond at about 11 or 11:30, depending on the desire of the participants.
You don’t need to sign up in advance to participate. Just come with your glove and your entry fee and jump into the lineup.
“One year, I tried to do an advance sign up, and some people signed up – 15 or 20,” DiCicco said. “That was last year. I had 60 people come the day of the game. So just show up.”
The Parkside Restaurant across Housatonic Street from Buddy Pellerin Field will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers for the participants, the Pittsfield Rye Bakery is donating rolls, DiCicco said.
Also donating to the cause again this year are the Boston Red Sox, who are supplying a baseball signed by Manager Alex Cora for annual Striking Out Cancer in the Berkshires auction.
That takes place on Saturday evening after the final outs and runs are recorded in an annual gathering at the Sideline Saloon on Fenn Street.
Last year, DiCicco’s fund-raiser generated $8,900 for the Jimmy Fund, which gives him a benchmark for year four.
Just don’t call it a goal.
“Everybody asks me that, ‘What’s my goal?’ “ he said. “I reach for the stars. Whatever comes, comes. I would say that I wouldn’t mind getting to that $10,000 mark. You never know.
“That’s why I don’t set goals. Some people get satisfied if they reach their goal.”
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