If the weather cooperates Saturday and the Millard South Invitational goes off as scheduled, it will be remembered as more than just another regular-season tournament.
That’s because this year’s event is another in the long line of charitable activities that has become a hallmark of the Patriots’ program. The tournament will serve as a fundraiser and awareness event to fight cancer.
The event is called “Swing for the Cure,” and was inspired by some close to the Millard South program who have battled the disease.
Patriots coach Steve Kerkman has made community service and events like these a priority for his players and coaches in recent years. Other events have helped the Nebraska Humane Society, the Open Door Mission and the Ronald McDonald House.
Money raised from T-shirt sales and other sources Saturday will be donated to cancer-related causes. But Kerkman said recognition and awareness are the primary goals of the event.
Pregame ceremonies will recognize players and family members from all four participating teams — Millard South, Lincoln Southwest, Omaha Central and Omaha Westside. Kerkman’s father, Tom, a cancer survivor for almost two years, will throw out the first pitch.
Steve Kerkman is one of three area coaches who have hit a victory milestone this season. Kerkman and Millard North’s John Swoboda reached the 250-win mark — Kerkman in the Patriots’ victory against Westside in their first game of the Metro Conference tournament and Swoboda on Sept. 20 at the Monarch Invitational.
Papillion-La Vista coach Todd Peterson got No. 200 Tuesday night during the top-ranked Monarchs’ senior night victory against Omaha Northwest.
One other note: Thursday’s games begin the final week of regular-season play as district tournaments start Oct. 10. The pairings for Class A, B and C are listed in the scoreboard section of Thursday’s paper.