Rival Teams Come Together for a Powerful Cause

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Rival Teams Come Together for a Powerful Cause

photo by Ann-Marie Houle

photo by Ann-Marie Houle

photo by Ann-Marie Houle

Story by Sarah Flakus, Staff Writer

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photo by Ann-Marie Houle

All high school sports teams know how amazing it is to win a big game against their biggest rival. For the Stonington and Waterford softball teams, they know how amazing it feels to use their rivalry to benefit those in need.

On Monday, May 13, the 10th annual Play-for-the-Cure softball game was played between Stonington and Waterford High Schools. Over the past 10 years, the SHS softball team has raised over $11,000 dollars to give to various cancer research organizations through donations from parents, players, coaches, and students. These donations have helped to further the cancer research in order to hopefully find a cure for such a terrible disease that disrupts so many lives.

At the game, many different people who have either survived or passed away from cancer were honored. Several cancer survivors were asked to throw out the first pitch to both team’s starting catchers. One guest that was honored was Theresa Pont, who was diagnosed with brain cancer at age five. She battled for several years through different treatments and has survived. Next year she will join her brothers Robert and Anthony Pont in the halls of SHS.

Another guest honored was Madaline Guarraia, who died at the age of nine due to leukemia. She battled for five years, receiving many different kinds of treatment and beating it twice, yet passed in 2016. Her mother, sister, and brother all came to the game, and her brother threw out one of the first pitches.

There were many other people honored at the game including Sullivan Schraeder, who died last year at the age of seven, Aimee Reed, a graduate of Stonington High School, who died of breast cancer last year, and Lisa Wentz-Day, who died of cancer just two years after graduating from SHS.

The field was decorated with many different posters, balloons and styrofoam cups spelling out “Play-4-the-Cure” in the outfield. People also got the chance to write the name of a person they honor on a paper softball that got taped to the back of the dugout.

Many people from Stonington, Waterford and other surrounding towns came to watch the game and support the cause.

Although the Bears lost the game 2-6, they walked away knowing that they did something a lot bigger than just playing a game. “If all my kids remember from their years in this program is this game, I will be happy,” head coach Ann Marie Houle said. “We need to play for those that can’t because they are the real fighters in this.”

At the end of the day, cancer affects everybody in some way, and the Stonington and Waterford softball teams like to do what they can to eliminate some of the sufferings it causes. It is always the highlight of everybody’s season and they plan on continuing this tradition in the future.

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