OAK HILL —
An event celebrating of the life of a Fayette County softball pioneer will move into its second decade this weekend.
The 10th annual Johnnie Ferri Memorial Softball Tournament will be staged Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4-5 at Collins Park. Proceeds from the co-ed tourney, which will feature 13 teams, will benefit the Johnnie Ferri Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Ferri’s daughter, Meigs Conley, is happy the tournament has reached this plateau.
“This is our 10th year. We’ve come a long way since we started the tournament in 2003,” she said. “People love the sport, so they come and play. But there are so many who knew and remember Johnnie Ferri that they come every year to not only play, but to devote their time and energies to this tournament and (him).
“What a wonderful tribute to my Dad, that this tourney has been so successful and that it enables (his legacy) to continue to help the youth he loved so much through the scholarship.”
Conley shared a quote from her late father which is placed annually with the tournament rules: “I like to win but the idea is to teach them to play ball. It really doesn’t matter what the scores were as long as everyone had a good time playing.”
Alicia Williams is the 2012 scholarship winner and will throw out the first pitch at around 8:30 a.m. this Saturday.
Past scholarship winners included:
2011 — Mathew Lokant;
2010 — Dustin Nuckels;
2009 — Jessica Bragg;
2008 — Lindsey Smith;
2007 — Frankie Treadway and Amber Parrish;
2006 — Samantha Kerwood, Amanda Wriston and Nicole Johnson;
2005 — Megan Parrish and Randi Lickliter;
2004 — Amanda Shrewsbury, Brittany Conley and Marcus Grasty;
2003 — Engleish Huffman and Justin DeViese; and
2002 — Shannon Hunt, Stephanie Davis and Stacey Aliff.
Past team winners included:
2011 — Gladiators;
2010 — XSIRON;
2009 — R&C Vending;
2008 — R&C Vending;
2007 — Balls & Chains;
2006 — Sausage & Eggs;
2005 — Conleys;
2004 — Old Big Blues; and
2003 — Mayors.
Among those making donations to make the tournament a success in 2011 were ACE, Winterplace, Cantrell’s, Dirty Ernie’s Rib Pit, Dow Jones Development, Pies and Pints, Diogi’s, Studio B, Chico’s, Sedona’s, White Water Bar and Grill, Jay’s Vending, Kroger, Pepsi, Sam’s Club and Southern States.
The public is invited to attend the tournament.
Anyone wishing to make donations can call Meigs Conley at 304-573-1174.
— Steve Keenan