WESTFIELD, NJ — Beginning Friday, May 25, through Memorial Day, local 12U and 11U baseball teams are playing in the Westfield Baseball League’s annual charity tournament at Gumbert Fields. Teams from Westfield are competing against teams from towns including Cranford, North Hunterdon, Verona, Scotch Plains and Chatham.

Teams competing in the tournament were brought into a discussion about where the funds raised should be dispersed.

"I have often thought about how all our lives cross because our sons are healthy enough to play baseball and we, as parents, get involved by coaching and/or volunteering to run our local baseball leagues,” said WBL Treasurer Lou Iacoponi. “So in that spirit, the selected charities aimed at providing comfort to sick or terminally ill children and for families of deceased local public servants, as those families may never enjoy the time we share with our sons on the baseball diamond."

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In 2017, the tournament donated a total of $4,000 to several different charities:

  • Family of Westfield Firefighter Michael Lanza
  • Liam's Room
  • Make A Wish Foundation (NJ Chapter)
  • National Alliance for Mental Illness, in memory of Steven Karp
  • Barnabas Health Hospice, In Memory of Robert Derfler
  • Michael J. Wielgus II Foundation
  • Family of Summit Police Officer Michael Tarentino

This year, two charities have been chosen so far — Liam's Room and Make A Wish Foundation (NJ). The final list will determined after the tournament once the total amount raised has been calculated and competing teams have weighed in on local charities.

In a ceremony Saturday afternoon, Liam’s Room Board Member Gretchan Ohlig accepted a donation on behalf of the organization, whose mission is to provide comfortable, home-like hospital rooms for families with children requiring long-term hospitalization or palliative care.