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Slow pitch tournament a big hit

Lauren MacGill

The Big Hit Slow Pitch tournament featured 14 teams.

The Big Hit Slow Pitch tournament featured 14 teams.

WINKLER - 

The Winkler Baseball Diamonds were packed with teams and supporters this weekend for slow pitch ball.

The Big Hit Slow Pitch Tournament, which ran from August 18-20, was raising money for Children’s Camps International.

This year, an anonymous donor matched donations up to $20,000, and doubled anything above $20,000.

Last year pulled in about $20,000. This year, the tournament raised $83,475. Participants hit 295 home runs throughout the day.

The funds raised will send 16,700 kids to camp, and will help distribute 20,000 bibles.

“It’s totally awesome,” organizer Harold Espinosa said. “It’s good to know that people believe in what CCI is doing, which is spreading the gospel. Sometimes the easiest way to reach people is to send kids to camp.”

14 teams registered to play in the weekend-long tournament. The tournament featured three divisions, ranging in skill level from skilled players to those that just wanted to come out and have a fun day.

CCI is an evangelical, non-denominational organization that aims to assist indigenous churches to reach communities, with a focus on children and sending them to camp. They operate all over the world, including India, Brazil and Mexico.

This year, money raised also went toward distributing bibles for children who attended camps. “Many countries can’t afford that, and they can’t afford camp,” Espinosa said. “CCI is doing what they can, which means the communities of Winkler, Altona, Carman and throughout that have contributed are making this possible.”

The tournament has been running yearly for 10 years. CCI usually organized the event, but was having problems finding volunteers. Espinosa and Pathway Church stepped in to help, and Espinosa has been organizing the tournament for two years.

“Children have the highest percentage of accepting Jesus,” Espinosa said. “That is our next generation.”

The tournament was sponsored by various local businesses and churches.