About 270 Rose Capital West Little Leaguers will be playing baseball Saturday in a tournament to help out one of their own who has been diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.
Collin Boyd is in third grade at Owens Elementary School and is the son of Kalisha and Jimmy Boyd. The 8-year-old was recently diagnosed with undifferentiated soft tissue sarcoma and is about to undergo his second round of chemotherapy and starts radiation soon. He has been playing baseball since he was 4 and his favorite player is Texas Ranger Josh Hamilton.
Boyd participates in the Rose Capital West Little League, playing for the Blue Jays team and also plays select baseball with the Tyler Diamond Jaxx.
Darrell Welch, Boyd's coach for the Diamond Jaxx, got together with other league coaches less than two weeks ago and came up with the idea for the interleague tournament, he said.
“We've all got kids,” Welch said of why they planned the tournament to raise money for Boyd' medical and travel expenses. “Our kids didn't know what to do and wanted to do something” to support Boyd.
Several of the baseball players have shaved their head, leaving only Boyd's No. 4.
“The kids starting shaving their heads because they knew Collin would be losing his hair,” Welch said. “They shaved a 4 to identify who they're doing it for.”
The all-day event, held at Faulkner Park, will include raffle tickets for a flat screen television and camping at Pine Cove on Lake Palestine, a dunking booth for people to try their hands at dunking coaches and umpires, concession stands all day and a Carter BloodCare bus in the afternoon taking donations.
An all-day silent auction will offer a baseball signed by Texas Ranger Yu Darvish, a two-night stay at a Marriott hotel, baseball day camp at Brook Hill, a round of golf at Hollytree Country Club, several gift baskets, quilts, Tyler Junior College football tickets and more.
Professional car washers will be on hand and T-shirts and wrist bands with Boyd's name and baseball number will be sold to raise money.
The opening ceremony will begin at 8:15, with Boyd and his parents being introduced and called to the mound, a prayer and singing of the national anthem. Boyd will throw the first pitch to his father and coach of his team, the Blue Jays, before the tournament begins at 9 a.m. After the tournament, which ends at 6 p.m., a homerun derby at 6:30 p.m. will be the finale for the day's festivities.
Welch said there are three different age groups of players – the five pitch (7-8 year olds), minors (9-10 year olds), and majors (11-12 year olds) participating.
Welch said they abandoned the weekend practices for the tournament and 27 of the 31 west league teams are participating, which he said shows phenomenal support. There are about 10 kids on a team and games will be played on five fields.
“This is not a win and lose thing,” Welch said of the tournament. “We're going to make this fun and get everybody involved to realize why we're out there.”
He said they are lucky Boyd is still healthy enough to play in the tournament.
“We've gotten unbelievable feedback and support,” he said. “It's amazing to me.”
When asked what they would do if it rains Saturday, Welch said they can play as long as there is no lightning and since it is not a league game that counts, they can modify the schedule, delaying or canceling certain games. There's a 60 percent chance it will rain but there is also a 40 percent chance it won't, he said.
Donations can be made at any Regions Bank branch.
Updated Friday, May 11, 2012 at 3:01 p.m. CDT