MENASHA – It was a special evening at Koslo Park on Thursday as the Menasha Macs hosted the fifth annual Cancer Benefit Baseball Game against the Appleton Legends.
“The message I wanted to get out is that it’s not about us, it’s bigger than us and bigger than individuals,” Menasha Macs manager Jason Wierschke said. “It makes you feel good that you are doing things for other people and to hit that five-year mark knowing that it’s the same success with the Menasha Macs and Appleton Legends being part of it, we wouldn’t be able to do it without them and all the support from the local businesses.
“I think last year we had 75 businesses. I think we’re probably pushing 80 this year. It’s been pretty amazing to see how many people jump and are onboard to make this event happen today.”
The charity game had raised over $22,000 through the past four years, according to Wierschke.
“What’s really special about it is that each night’s only three or four hours,” Wierschke said. “To have that amount of money in there to give back, it’s pretty amazing.
Wierschke started the event after umpiring a 12-year-old tournament, where he noticed one team was raising money for breast cancer. The Menasha Macs have been teaming up with UNLESS and Robin’s Nest to support their work in raising awareness for cancer in the Fox Valley.
“Robin’s Nest is kind of the same thing. It’s run by a classmate of mine. Robin’s Nest is close to me and close to UNLESS, so it just made sense to pair those two together.”
UNLESS is a nonprofit organization created by teachers and students at Woodland School in Kimberly. The main goal is to educate, inspire and fund raise to fight various types of cancer.
Robin’s Nest is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring people together to keep alive the late Robin Burton’s spirit of hope and share it through acts of kindness for all people living with cancer. The organization started during the spring of 2014, after she passed away from cancer.
“Throughout my wife’s journey, 51/2 years, we had a lot of things that people were always just so kind to us,” said Dan Burton, Robin’s husband. “At some point in her treatment, she got a fleece blanket and always had that blanket.
“She was a baker and we ended up putting together a cookbook right before she passed away and at Christmas of 2013, we sold 500 copies so now we have money that we didn’t need so we decided to do random acts for people with cancer and wrote a little message sharing her spirit of hope she never gave up. So, it’s about sharing her spirit of hope and that blanket is hope.”
“My daughter, Maggie was diagnosed with leukemia the day before she was supposed to enter first grade,” the 40-year-old designated hitter said. “So, she missed her first-grade school year and went through treatment for the next 21/2 years. Maggie is now going into sixth grade and is perfectly healthy.
“I think it was the first year that they did this, Maggie was diagnosed, or it was soon after that. Maggie ended up throwing out the first pitch for the first game. At that time, it was awesome to see the larger baseball community come together to support any kind of illness. It’s awesome to see it continue, that the fight isn’t over and we need to continue to do more.”
The Macs scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to win the game 4-3.
Griffin Jack and Pierce Blohowiak hit singles to open the inning, then both advanced on a double steal. Colin Englebert followed with a grounder to short, and the throw home was wide to allow Jack to score the tying run. After an intentional walk to load the bases, Adam Grambow hit a grounder to short. On the throw home, Blohowiak collided with the catcher and scored the winning run.
Jack Taschner pitched the final three innings in relief to get the win. He did not allow a hit and struck out seven.
Appleton 101 000 100 – 3 11 0
Menasha 000 011 002 – 4 9 1
WP: Jack Taschner (3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K). LP: B.J. Chase (3 IP, 3 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Leading hitters: Trent Whitcomb A 3×5, RBI; John Hendrick A 2×3, RBI; Kevin Kangas A 2×4; Colin Englebert M 2×5, RBI; Zach Carney M 2×4, RBI; Griffin Jack M 2×3, 2 R, RBI; Eitan Maoz M 2B.