Rusty Rightmyer (left) and Mark Peck held a corn hole fundraiser at Wolf Creek Brewery to help offset costs of sending their team to New York. Matt Fernandez/ The Signal

Cornhole tournament helps baseball team’s New York dreams

On Sunday, Longshot Cornhole hosted a tournament at Wolf Creek Brewery to help the Valley Jethawks Baseball Club fundraise for a trip to the All Star Village baseball tournament.

In August 2020, the Jethawks will travel to Cooperstown, New York, to participate in the week-long All Star Village tournament and compete against at least 60 teams from across America and countries like Canada, Cuba and Mexico. Mark Peck, manager for the Jethawks, said the trip will cost the team about $19,000. 

“This is a top-tier tournament and the kids get to play some of the top teams from around the country and some international teams and show them what we have,” Peck said. “The kids go to Cooperstown for a week, stay in dorms and play baseball, and we really just want to help make this less of a burden on the parents. We do a lot of fundraisers and I’m happy to see so many people here to support us and not just the parents of the kids because it’s not often that you get to have fun like this while raising funds.”

For Peck and Rusty Rightmyer, Jethawks president and assistant coach, winning the tournament doesn’t matter as much as exposing their players to new life experiences and different styles of playing baseball.

“I’ve been to the tournament twice, and the kids don’t remember their record; obviously we want to win but what the kids remember is the friendships they make and the games they play,” Rightmyer said. “We’re giving the kids the experience of playing in a world-series-type tournament, and some of them even prefer All Star Village because it’s more competitive. My son once describes it as ‘Disneyland for baseball players.’”

During their trip, the team will participate in six matches to determine their skill level then will compete in a single elimination tournament based on those results.

Ben Budhu, owner of Longshot Cornhole, said he thinks cornhole is such a popular fundraiser because it’s safe and family.

“Cornhole is a sport you can play with the entire family because anyone can throw a bean bag 27 feet and no one is going to get hurt,” Budhu said. “Youth sports are great because they instill in you a competitive edge and teach you teamwork, so hopefully this fundraiser can help the kids be better athletes and better people. Helping out the community is what our company is all about.”

Eleven-year-old Austin Daszk, who has played shortstop on the team for the past two years, said he is excited for his team to travel and play on the east coast.
“It’s New York, you know, the Big Apple,” Daszk said. “It’s going to be really fun to spend time with my team. It’s really fun to have everyone out here today for the fundraiser and seeing all the smiles on their faces while they’re supporting our team.”

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