City Of Hope’s 25th Annual Celebrity Softball Game
And it was a homerun for City Of Hope’s 25th Annual Celebrity Softball Game!
Held on June 13th at the brand new First Tennessee Park in Nashville, TN, the event gathered about 20 music and sports stars and thousands of fans to strike out cancer, even setting the record this year of the most tickets sold in the history of the game! As always, the game was opposing the Grand Ole Opry‘s team to the iHeartRadio‘s.
The pre-game event involved host Cody Alan and Lorianne Crook introducing Team iHeart player and former City Of Hope patient Stephen Bess, who received lifesaving treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia more than 2 years ago. The Nashville native indeed met and hugged his genetically matched stem-cell donor Jonas Baade for the very first time on the pitcher’s mound that day, while the crowd cheered loudly. Baade, who played on Team Opry, specifically flew all the way from Germany for the occasion.
Baade’s fellow Team Opry players included Aaron Watson, Bucky Covington, Charles Esten, Chuck Wicks, Deana Carter, Love And Theft’s Eric Gunderson, JT Hodges, Phil Vassar, Rachel Smith, SaraBeth, Stu Grimson and Vince Gill.
As for Team iHeart, the rooster was completed by former Voice competitor and a U.S. Air Force vet Angie Johnson (who sang the national anthem at this year’s game), Bret Michaels, Doug McCormick, Lauren Alaina, Lindsay Ell, Perrish Cox, Seth Jones, Love And Theft’s Stephen Barker Liles and The Bobby Bones Show’s Bobby Bones, Eddie and Lunchbox.
The game started slow, with neither of the teams scoring any points during the first three innings. After that, the game accelerated quickly, with the iHeart team scoring 3 points in the fourth inning. Team Opry soon rallied and made it a 5-5 tie game, with the help of the now infamous “all the girls are safe” rule. And of course, give it to Bret Michaels to lead his team to the win! With a solid hit, he enabled the hero of the day, Jonas Baade, to cross the home plate and give the 6 to 5 win to Team iHeart!
By the time the game ended, over $200,000 had been raised for City Of Hope. Founded in 1913, City Of Hope has become a pioneer in the treatment of bone and blood marrow diseases, having performed more than 12,000 lifesaving bone marrow transplants. It also is a leading biomedical research institute for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening illnesses. The City of Hope Celebrity Softball Game, presented by Staples and sponsored by PEOPLE Country, raises funds for that research.
Those unable to attend the game can still support the cause. A variety of unique merchandise and experiences, including meet-and-greets with the hottest artists, will be available for bid at charitybuzz.com. The proceeds will benefit City of Hope’s mission to eradicate cancer and other life-threatening diseases.