I've played the game since I was 6-years old and as I celebrate my birthday this weekend, it's hard not to think of Phil Sweeney who won't get another birthday and won't play another softball game.

For those unfamiliar, Phil, who passed away at just 63-years old became suddenly ill while playing the game he loved. He had played softball the majority of his life, just like me. This weekend, the tournament I'm so excited for is played in his honor.

I can remember at about 8-years old going back up the plate for the first time that season and my Dad yelling, "Hold on! Wait!...Marissa, come here...what are you doing?" I had gone up to bat as a lefty, but, fun fact, I am a righty. I replied, "What? It's how I feel comfortable." He sort of shrugged, said okay and waited to see what would happen.

I smacked the ball and got on base. Dad's response, "okay, she's good!"

6 Year Old, Marissa batting righty for the last time
6 Year Old, Marissa batting righty for the last time

Through the years I played a lot of games; some were for the rec league in Clifton Park, "Miss Shen," some were for Shenendehowa High School, some were for the traveling All-Star team. Some teams won a lot, some lost a lot, one was undefeated. But at the end of the day it was all for fun.

While I've played the game since high school, this will be my first tournament since then. I'm guaranteed to play in 4-games on Sunday, the day after my 34th birthday. The excitement is through the roof inside me, for the game, for the memories and for the memorial of Phil Sweeney.

You can come and support the tournament that is going on Saturday and Sunday at the Knickerbocker fields in Lansingburgh at 106th street. There will be food, raffles and of course lots of games to cheer on!

Games start as early as 9am and go through the evening. My schedule is below and my team would love your support of such an amazing experience!

Team: 518 Ballers





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