Please note the date change from March 26 to April 2
BENNINGTON, Vt. — For the fourth straight season, the Southern Vermont College baseball team members will be shaving their heads to support the fight against childhood cancer with their 2016 event set to take place this Saturday, April 2 following a New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) twin bill against Newbury College.
The NECC doubleheader on Saturday will be held at Bill Epstein Field on the Southern Vermont campus with the day's first pitch scheduled for noon. Following the day-cap against the Nighthawks, SVC will bust out the clippers and buzz away its hair once again.
To make a donation in support of the Mountaineers' cause, please visit: team.vs-cancer.org/SouthernVermont.
"We will continue our quest to defeat childhood cancer this year," commented fourth-year SVC head coach Dave Gage who initiated the Mountaineers' tradition after taking over the reins in 2012. "This event is exciting for our program each year as we get to realize how lucky we are to play the game we love."
The Mountaineers have been raising funds, and will continue to throughout the season, that will be donated to the Vs. Cancer Foundation for the third consecutive year. Since the team began shaving off its hair in the 2013 campaign, SVC has raised over $10,000 for childhood cancer research and support for youngsters currently battling various diseases.
"It's great to give back to such a great cause," commented SVC senior captain RJ Pingitore (Perth, N.Y.) who has been with the team since it started the annual cutting. "It's something that our team really enjoys doing, and it's been awesome to be able to participate in the head shaving for the past three years.
"The one thing that I've learned from it is that every little act of kindness really goes a long way," Pingitore continued. "We may not be the biggest school, but we can make a big difference."
The Vs. Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving kids' lives by empowering athletes and communities to fund lifesaving childhood cancer efforts. Based on its "Half and Half" model, half of all the proceeds are given to national childhood cancer research while the other half is given to local childhood cancer hospitals and other efforts. There are about 147 baseball teams around the country that participate in similar events, ranging from professional squads through all three NCAA divisions and down to youth leagues.
This year, the team had an especially touching experience with the organization as the Mountaineers were able to welcome Chase Jones, the founder and CEO of Vs. Cancer, to the Southern Vermont campus back in mid-January. Jones shared his story of fighting, and surviving, Stage IV brain cancer, a disease he was diagnosed with when he was just an 18-year-old freshman baseball player at the University of North Carolina. He went on to tell the Mountaineers about his journey in establishing Vs. Cancer and building it to what it is today: a nation-wide organization that creates a positive impact on cancer patients and survivors while giving them support that they might not have received otherwise.
"It was definitely an eye-opening experience, meeting Chase," said Pingitore. "He was great and made us feel like we are a huge part of the Vs. Cancer Foundation. Hearing his story really put things in perspective for our guys since he came from a very extensive baseball background, as well."
"We hope that we will continue to raise money and help kids beat cancer so they, too, can be future collegiate baseball players," Gage added.
For more information on the Vs. Cancer Foundation and its impact on the battle against kids' cancer, please visit: www.vs-cancer.org/.