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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

L.A.’s Fun Fest baseball tournament gives back

by Garrett Fodor

A community of baseball players, from all around the county, came together at Co-An Park in McGregor over the weekend to play baseball amongst friends, share laughs, and compete while helping a cause as part of L.A.’s annual Fun Fest tournament.

The annual softball tournament has been going on for over 10 years, with this year’s edition featuring 28 teams and attracting over 500 players. The tournament offered six different divisions and served as a qualifier for Slo-Pitch National.

Lea-Anne “L.A.” Shepley and her committee of six volunteers host the tournament every year.

Shepley and committee spokesperson, Shannon Pogge, said this tournament is about bringing a community of ball players together and not making a profit. Each year, they added, they choose a local charity, which runs the bar all weekend and receives a donation following the conclusion of the tournament.

This year’s tournament beneficiary was Kaidyn’s Dream and Be a Donor, which has a goal of raising awareness and helping to promote the importance of being an organ donor, through 17-year-old Kaidyn Blair of Essex, who is a recipient of liver transplant.

Blair’s parents, Tammy and Jeremy, said they were grateful to be back again at the tournament this year and they appreciate the community’s interest in registering to be a donor. They added last year’s tournament raised $1,500 and they hoped to raise more this year.

The Blair’s said they are thankful to L.A., her committee, the baseball players, and the generosity of the community. This was the second year they have been the beneficiary and were able to get involved in the tournament.

Shepley said while there were prizes and a chance to move on to qualifiers, the tournament also offered comradery, a chance to show off talent, and an opportunity for everyone to come together for the love of the sport.

During the tournament, Shepley said, everyone is always laughing, smiling, and interacting with each-other, team-mates or not, at the tournament, which is what it is all about.

Shepley and the committee were happy with the turnout this year and they hope to continue to grow it next year. They are always welcoming to new teams and players in the tournament or in their leagues.  


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