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Event a big deal both on and off the diamond

Baseball, burgers and brews are back in Wellesley next weekend with the 32nd annual Don Green Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament.

One of the tournament organizers, Blair Cressman, says that the tournament has been a huge draw for folks from Wellesley Township and beyond, and this year will be no different.

“It is a really good event for our community,” he said. “We like to take advantage of our great recreation facilities here, and also to give back through the Don Green Memorial Fund and the work of the Wellesley and District Lions Club within the community. It is a celebration and a really good weekend for the community. A lot of people come out and take part in the beer gardens and the barbecue and just to watch some games.”

Don Green was a fixture on the Wellesley recreation scene before passing away in the 1980s, and for the last 31 years, 16 teams in four divisions have come together to play baseball and raise money for local sports and facilities. It’s a big part of the summer calendar.

“It takes a lot of manpower to organize a big tournament like this, and we know that it is going to a good cause. It is actually one of the Lions’ biggest events of the years that goes towards a lot of the activities the Lions run and participate in throughout the community,” said Cressman. “(Green’s) family set up the Don Green Memorial Fund and specifically this baseball tournament to raise funds to give back to different community events, but mainly a lot of focus on youth activities, sports and recreation in the Wellesley area.”

A few years back, the local Lions Club took up the cause with the intent of continuing to support those local causes, like the accessible playground and the splash pad located at the Wellesley Community Centre.

“That was one of the key reasons that we took over the event, was to cover maintenance costs on the splash pad and things like that,” said Cressman, adding that the township has since included splash pad maintenance in their annual budget. “We also have a 50/50 raffle going on, and it has allowed us to free up some of the funds from the event to go to other events and activities.”

The burgers will be hitting the grill around 5 p.m. on Aug. 12, with the first game starting shortly after. Cressman says organizers wanted to give families and community members a bit of time to get to the diamonds after a week at work. Along with the barbecue and beer gardens, Cressman says there is plenty to do at the Wellesley park where the tournament is taking place.

The Don Green Memorial Slo-Pitch Tournament runs on the evening of Aug. 12 and all day on Aug. 13.

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