Rylee Knash waits to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Rylee Lou Charity Softball Tournament.

Making a difference:

Otsego softball team uses tournament to raise money for children with type 1 diabetes
Jason Wesseldyk

In its three games at the Rylee Lou Charity Softball Tournament on Saturday, April 18, host Otsego outscored its opponents 26-23.
Despite that scoring edge, the Bulldogs dropped two of their three contests, settling for an 18-9 win against Hackett Catholic Central in their second game.
Not that wins and losses were the most important thing on this day.
“The tournament was a great success,” Otsego coach Jake Knash said. “We haven’t gotten our total amount, but we raised over $6,000 for children with type 1 diabetes.”
The tournament, previously known as the Bulldog Classic, changed its name—and its focus—this year due to a diagnosis Knash’s family received regarding his youngest daughter, Rylee.
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, Rylee—who turned four the day of the tournament—and her family saw their lives changed as Rylee had to endure countless finger pricks and insulin shots for her condition.
Wanting to help other children like Rylee, Knash decided to use the tournament as an avenue for raising money to send children with this illness to a special summer camp.
He couldn’t have been happier with the result.
“Everyone was so willing to step up and help for a good cause,” Knash said. “I just want our community and the other teams involved to know how thankful we are for their help in this charity.”
After Rylee threw out the ceremonial first pitch to start the tournament, the Bulldogs took on Northview in their first game and suffered a 5-3 setback. The Bulldogs trailed 4-0 through four innings before rallying for three in the top of the fifth, but they would get no closer.
Madison Gallagher drove in two of Otsego’s runs with a triple before scoring the third run on a single by Kassidy Wesaw. Emma Nuyen added a 2-for-4 effort.
Madison Kinnane pitched all six innings and took the loss.
In its game with Hackett, Otsego scored multiple runs in every inning except the second, when the Bulldogs settled for a lone run.
Gianna Barbato led the 17-hit attack by going 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBI. Nuyen went 3-for-5 with a home run, four runs and three RBI, while Gallagher also homered, drove in two runs and scored twice.
Nickki Hoover joined Barbato and Nuyen with multiple hits, going 3-for-5 with two runs and an RBI.
Roni Powers pitched the first four innings for the win, with Kinnane working the final three frames.
In its final game with Holland, Otsego trailed 8-1 midway through the sixth inning and lost 9-5.

For full story, pick up a copy of the April 23 issue of The Allegan County News or subscribe to the e-edition.

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