Penn Park has played host to sports games since its opening in September, but Sunday afternoon, the space found a new purpose: to “save second base.”

Students, staff and other community members participated in a charity softball tournament. Sixteen teams competed throughout the day and the winner took home a $500 cash prize.

“We organized the event to get people out and raise money for breast cancer,” tournament organizer and Associate Director of New Student Orientation and Academic Initiatives Troy Majnerick said. “We were looking for a University-wide community service event for athletes and non-athletes.”

Student teams paid a $100 entry fee and others paid $250. Organizers also hosted a home-run derby, and the Year of Games pledged to donate $5 for every home run hit. The proceeds went directly to Save 2nd Base, an organization that sells T-shirts to support the Kelly Rooney Foundation.

Majnerick’s office discovered Save 2nd Base while doing research for Year of Games programming. They then contacted the organization to organize a Save 2nd Base summer softball league. Many summer league participants joined staff and students in forming teams for the charity tournament.

“I was humbled and thrilled that they would want to help us out,” Save 2nd Base founder Kelly Day said of Sunday’s event. “[Majnerick] took the idea and ran with it. He basically organized 99 percent and I walked in.”

The event raised money for breast cancer research, support and education.

Games took up several fields in Penn Park, and some students ate and played games in surrounding green areas. The 24-acre space that opened last month was crucial to the success of the event, Majnerick said.

“For the past couple years when they were doing construction here, intramurals was so difficult without space for events,” he said. “It’s absolutely because of Penn Park that we were able to make an event like this happen. Penn Park is such a good resource so we wanted to throw out any opportunity for people to check it out.”

For some students, the event’s cause hit close to home. “For me it’s personal,” College freshman Andres Gonzalez said. “My aunt died of breast cancer a few years ago. It’s a good cause and [the softball tournament] was fun.”

Some students came out to support the fundraising effort, but Majnerick also marketed the event to students as a study break filled with free food and games. Students wandered through the area watching the games and eating free pizza and snacks donated by local organizations such as CampusFood.

Engineering junior Sandy Sun originally came for the food, but was intrigued by the event’s raffle items, which included an Xbox 360, a foosball table, an iPod Touch and a 32-inch HDTV.

“It goes toward a good cause, so why not?” Sun said. “I didn’t participate in any of the activities but I was in the area, and it’s always nice to come out. And I got a foam finger.”

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