Softball tournament raises funds for Ernest Ward

Published 11:02 am Wednesday, June 22, 2005

By By Tim Cottrell
Nothing raises funds like a nice softball tournament.
At least that's what the Ernest Ward Middle School cheerleaders assumed this weekend when they held a softball tournament to raise money for their summer cheerleader camps and their uniforms.
The tournament was held this past Saturday at Bradberry Park in Walnut Hill. Nine teams participated in the tournament, and Shiloh Freewill Baptist Church defeated the Poarch Outcast team for the tournament championship. Ernest Ward's cheerleaders manned the concession stands, grilling hamburgers and serving food and drinks.
Melissa Ward, who works in Loan Operations at First National Bank of Atmore and organized First National Bank's team for the tournament, said it had been a fun way to get their employees together away from the office.
"It was lots of fun," she said. "We were really, really sore yesterday. It was good competition. Everybody had fun, and it wasn't serious to where people were getting mad. It was just a good clean day of softball and people knocking it around. It's been a good thing for us to have activities outside of the bank. It gave us an opportunity to be around each other outside of the bank."
It is estimated that around $2500 was raised for Ernest Ward's cheerleaders, so the tournament was obviously a success.
"A lot of the teams weren't businesses," Ward said, "but were just people who came together and decided to play. The tournament wasn't advertised so most of the publicity came from word-of-mouth. They were very pleased with the response they got just from word-of-mouth, especially with this being their first time."
Speaking of first times, Ward said First National's team could have used a bit longer to prepare.
"It was the first time we (First National) had even played together," Ward said. "For some of us it was the first time we had picked up a bat in five or ten years. Robert Faircloth got a hit and was at first base and completely out of breath. He hollered out 'Does anybody want a loan?'. It made all of us laugh. That's when I realized we were all out of shape."

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