Derby Days: O-Zone team holds homerun derby, silent auction to raise funds for World Series trip
Published 3:00 am Saturday, August 1, 2015
Baseballs were soaring and bids were being placed Friday evening at the Sportsplex in efforts to raise money for the Troy O-Zone baseball team who will leave for South Carolina for their shot at the Dixie World Series.
Current players, parents, coaches, and even former Charles Henderson and Pike Liberal Art greats Chase Smartt, Austin Ingram and Rush Hixon were all in attendance to show off some power and to raise money to send the O-one Team to the World Series.
“These boys have worked really hard and to see all these people come out and support them and send them on their way means a lot,” said team mom Tonya Ernsberger.
Starting a few weeks ago while the team was still in the District Tournament, many of the team moms started kicking around the idea of putting together a fundraiser perhaps seeing into the future a little bit knowing their team could be in this situation.
“Coach Nelson said lets worry about baseball and win first before we start thinking about that,” Ernsberger said. “The day we got back, we hit the ground running. We hate to keep asking the people of Troy, but they don’t care. They still come and that shows a lot of support. We can’t ask to be from a better town.”
Once the team won both the district and state championships the team’s head coach was more than happy to celebrate with family and friends.
“It has felt great this week. We got back from state knowing we had a mountain of fundraising to do if we were going to take the burden off our families,” said O-Zone head coach David Nelson. “These families have put in a lot of time this week to go out and recruit volunteers and donors. This homerun derby will put us over the top so we can take away the financial burden off these families.”
It wasn’t all about raising money on Friday night. It was also about putting some pretty awesome power on display.
Two age groups made up the homerun derby Friday evening athletes 12 and under were on one field while players 12 years and older were on the other.
There were some noticeable figures on the older field with former high school greats Hixon, Ingram, Smartt and many others grabbing a bat to hit homeruns for a cause on Friday night.
“It’s a lot of fun we get to come out here and do some things we don’t normally get to do,” Hixon said, a former Pike liberal Arts player. “I have some family on the team and had some other people tell me to spread the word. It’s a great cause I was in that position not to long ago, and it’s a great chance to give back to them.”
“Its fun to come out here with your friends and have everyone out here watching and we get to show off for the kids,” Ingram said, a former Charles Henderson Trojan. “It’s a great cause. I give credit to the person who thought of this. This is one of the best ideas I have ever heard of. This is a lot of fun, and I think it will continue every year.”
The fundraiser featured more than just a homerun derby Friday night. There was also an auction that featured items from Waffle House, Robert Trent Jones and even a shirt worn by Hank William Jr.