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Softball tournament to benefit Relay for Life

Staff writer

Clayton Garnica still isn’t ready for his days on the diamond to end. A former Marion High School and Central Christian College first baseman, he and his friends have continued playing ball, albeit the slow-pitch softball variety.

Garnica and some of his friends travel across the state about twice a month to participate in weekend softball tournaments.

“It’s a blast,” Garnica said.

Garnica has taken his hobby and turned into something from which the community can benefit. He has organized a tournament to be played at Marion’s baseball/softball complex Saturday that will benefit cancer charity Relay For Life.

Garnica remembered walking with his mother in the event when he was a child, and is now excited to give back in the form of the tournament, which will be expanded this year.

“Last year was the first year, so it was kind of thrown together in the last week (before the tournament),” he said.

He wasn’t the tournament’s initial organizer, but was able to take over and make it work with four teams last year. This time around, there will be 12 teams participating at a cost of $100 per 10-person team.

“Most of the tournaments I play in are for some kind of cause, so it was good to find one around here,” he said.

Garnica enjoys playing the game for fun, and for good causes. His favorite softball tournament is an October tournament in Lincolnville played in honor of James Weber, who died in a car accident July 22, 2009. The proceeds of that event go to Weber’s family and to the scholarship fund in his honor.

Garnica plays in recreational leagues and sometimes in tournaments that compete for money, but prefers events that donate to a charitable cause.

“Those seem more fun to me,” he said. “They’re more to have fun than to win something.”

It’s that spirit that Garnica hopes his own tournament embodies. He said the competition level will be lax, given that the proceeds go to Relay For Life.

It’s his intention to grow the tournament further. He said he was a little disappointed this year that he couldn’t get it to be larger, but is pleased that it is getting more attention.

“I love being involved in the community,” Garnica said. “I love coaching.

“This is something I want to do for a long time.”

Last modified Aug. 6, 2014

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