ELIZABETH, NJ – Erin McGuinness is a woman who believes in miracles, and she helps make them happen one pitch at a time by organizing an annual softball tournament, taking place today in Warinanco Park.

Affiliated with the Children’s Miracle Network, the tournament entitled Making Miracles Happen, One Pitch at a Time attracted 17 teams, 12 co-ed and five all male, from all over New Jersey, as well as New York, and Pennsylvania, taking over eight of the park’s fields.

The tournament, which typically raises $10,000 to $12,000 each year, helped by a 50/50 and a 150-prize raffle, began 11 years ago. Remembers McGuinness, “My friend Roni Zydzik’s nephew Patrick was born with a rare blood disorder, and I started the event to raise money.”

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The proceeds are split between the Children’s Specialized Hospital and a family of a police, fire, EMS, or corrections officer who has a sick child.

Like many worthy causes, Making Miracles Happen, One Pitch at a Time has inadvertently become a gift for the giver as well, knitting together a community, even a far-flung one, to a common cause that just feels right. It’s sponsored by Elizabeth Fire Department’s federal credit union. Corporate sponsors Applebee’s at Jersey Gardens, Wakefern, and Costco provide the food. Referees from the Amateur Softball Association donate their time.

When told that some players drove three hours to participate, McGuinness paused a moment, then quietly said, “That makes me feel good.”