Newsome hosts Banana Ball Versus Breast Cancer event

By Lily Belcher, Staff Writer

LITHIA – For Newsome, East Bay, Durant and Sumner, Saturday’s games were months in the making. For two months, the athletes prepared skits, dances and shenanigans to bring Banana Ball to high school baseball. It was all done for a good cause: to support Newsome head coach Dick Rohrberg’s wife, Anna, and others battling cancer.

Anna Rohrberg was diagnosed with breast cancer in July. Looking for a way to raise money for breast cancer awareness, Coach Rohrberg turned to fellow baseball coaches. With the help of Butch Valdes from Durant, Rowland Ruiz from East Bay and Kennedy Durant from Sumner, Newsome put together its own version of Banana Ball Versus Breast Cancer.

Modeled after the Savannah Bananas, the games were complete with dance-offs, banana costumes and backflips. Athletes donned kilts, frayed shirts and cowboy hats. Coaches had dramatic faux-ejections and dance battles across the field.

And fans loved it.

A large and enthusiastic crowd came out to see Newsome win its game against East Bay with an exciting walk off in the bottom of the seventh.

Newsome had a comfortable lead throughout the game, but the Indians took advantage of the “all runs count for points” rule in the final inning, taking a one run lead. However, the Wolves battled back in the final half-inning, scoring two points to win 5-4, capped by a walk-off from senior Braden Moon.

“I didn’t hit the ball very well but I got on and did it for the team,” Moon said. “It was fun. It was a great time.”

It wasn’t just the players who took part in the fun.

Sumner won its match against Durant with a 3-0 shutout. Stingrays sophomore Cameron Paquette’s mother, Joy, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, threw out the first pitch.

“It was fun. You just show everybody who has breast cancer [that] they’re just so loved,” Cameron Paquette said. “We showed them that they matter.”

The Stingrays won a point in both the third and fourth innings by outscoring Durant. After a fan challenge called a Durant runner out in the sixth, Sumner had the edge over the Cougars, giving the Stingrays their third and final point.

Rohrberg commended his team on quickly putting together a game filled with Banana Ball skits. He said his wife, who attended the game, thought the event was awesome.

“She was happy-crying. She was laughing and smiling the whole time, which is great,” Rohrberg said. “But it’s not just about her. It’s about all the other moms, sisters and grandmas and family members that have had it, too.”

If you would like to join these four teams’ efforts to support this cause, donations can be made to the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center by clicking here or to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation by clicking here.