Junior Classic raises 5K

Published 12:19 pm Wednesday, May 15, 2013

A tournament organized to help the family of a Northview graduate hurt in a car accident raised about $5,414 to defray the cost of some of his medical bills.

A Pensacola team called Sandlot took home first place in the Junior Classic played in Davisville and Bratt, Fla. in honor of University of West Florida student Mark Alan Shipps Jr., who was injured in a single-vehicle crash in March.

“It was about what I expected,” tournament organizer Brad Lowery said of the money raised. “I was expecting between $3,000 and $10,000, so it was right in there.”

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Twenty teams played a total of 38 games over two days in which the rain almost held out completely, Lowery said.

“We had a lot of prayers going out for ‘please stop the rain,’” he said. “We didn’t have to cancel or delay any games.”

Wet weather was expected throughout the area Saturday, but Lowery said he kept an eye on the radar images and it looked like it was missing the local area for the most part. He said it rained for a little over 30 minutes.

“It worked out perfectly,” Lowery said.

Sandlot went through the double-elimination tournament undefeated, beating Pensacola’s Team Impact in the championship game. An Atmore team called “The Dirty Thirty” took third place honors.

The Dirty Thirty consisted of John Dean, Patrick McPherson, Hayden McGill, James Dean, Cody Cousins, Nikki Bryan, Mallory McGhee and others.

A team consisting of mostly Northview High School baseball and softball players also competed. Some of the players on the Northview team were Brannon Freeman, Chasen Freeman, Blake McCall, Kevin Vaughan, Daulton Tullis, Misty Doran and Chad Smith.

The accident left Shipps with intestinal damage, two broken femurs, bruised lungs and a fracture above his left eye, but he is continuing his recovery, Lowery said.

“Everything is still going well,” he said of his former classmate at Northview. “He’s building strength and recovering.”

Shipps was traveling west on Molino Road just east of Chestnut Road in the Molino community at about 3:31 a.m., when he crossed the eastbound lane of Molino Road and traveled onto the south shoulder of the roadway, according to a report released by the Florida Highway Patrol.

According to the report, Shipps’ vehicle, a 2002 Jeep Liberty, continued to travel on the grassy shoulder where the vehicle eventually hit a cement culvert and cement embankment head on and came to a final rest.

At the time of the wreck, Shipps was returning home from a formal banquet for the Kappa Sigma Fraternity of UWF, where he is a student majoring in electrical engineering. He is a 2010 graduate of Northview High School and is the vice president of the fraternity. He is majoring in electrical engineering.