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Athletes of Distinction

San Jac Baseball team's Play Pink game sets fundraising record

HOUSTON – Despite weather problems, the San Jacinto College baseball team set a new fundraising record at the recent Play Pink game, an event that supports Angel Flight South Central and raises breast cancer awareness.

“This was the fourth year we sponsored the Play Pink fundraiser, and despite the rain it was our best year to date,” commented DJ Wilson, San Jacinto College baseball assistant coach. “In one day we raised just over $4,500 for Angel Flight South Central in Michele Durham’s honor, and that’s rather impressive. It really says a lot about the giving nature and generosity of this college and the community to stick it out and make the day a huge success. We can’t say thank you enough to all of those that so graciously donated.”

In the doubleheader against Blinn College, rain suspended play during the fifth inning of the first game, played on Saturday, April 27. The two games were finished the following day, with San Jacinto College losing game 1 (0-8), and winning game 2 (8-2).

Play Pink raised funds through a silent auction, donations, and food sales. Since 2010, the San Jacinto College baseball team has raised nearly $13,000 for Angel Flight South Central through Play Pink activities. Angel Flight South Central encourages pilots to volunteer their skills to provide free transportation for people in need of critical medical treatment not available to them locally.

For the San Jacinto College baseball team, the cause has a personal connection. Assistant coach Jimmy Durham lost his wife, Michele, to breast cancer nine years ago. At the time, Durham was on the coaching staff at New Mexico Junior College in Hobbs, New Mexico. While Michele was being treated in Houston, the couple used the services of Angel Flight South Central (then Grace Flight of America) to fly Michele and the Durham family to and from New Mexico and Houston free of charge.

San Jacinto College alumnae and breast cancer survivor Susan Deason tossed the ceremonial first pitch before the first Play Pink game on April 27. Deason earned an associate degree in legal assistant studies in 1994. She was a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the Student’s Legal Assistants Association. In December, Deason was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer, five brain tumors, and breast cancer. She has completed radiation treatment and will start chemotherapy soon.

The team and coaching staff were touched by the support shown by fans and the community. “There are far too many people to thank for making this event such a success,” remarked Wilson. “It is a group effort from the entire San Jac baseball program, the college, and the community. A special thank-you goes out to The North Shore Rotary Club for its $1,000 donation, to Cloverleaf Elementary School PTA for a $500 donation, and to the W.D. Ley YMCA for its support.”

San Jacinto College is currently 31-18 overall and 20-7 in conference play. The team is tied for first place in the Region XIV South Zone with Alvin Community College. The regional tournament is May 11 through May 15 at Angelina College in Lufkin. The winner of the regional tournament advances to the Junior College World Series, May 25 through June 1 in Grand Junction, Colo.

For more information about the San Jacinto College baseball team, visit www.sanjacsports.com.

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