By Kassie Parisi
CLIFTON PARK — The sun shined down on Clifton Common as the community came together to remember a vibrant, beloved girl by playing the game she loved most: softball.
June 11, was the day of the 5th annual Deanna Rivers 518 Softball Memorial Tournament. The tournament is held each year in honor of Deanna Rivers, a Shenendehowa high school senior who was killed in 2012 after a drunk driver crashed into a vehicle she and three other students were in. Shen senior Chris Stewart was also killed, while Shen student Matt Hardy and Shaker High School student Bailey Wind both survived the crash, but were severely injured.
The goal of the tournament, aside from honoring Deanna, is to recognize senior athletes who have made a positive contribution to their team and the surrounding community. Each year, various teams enter the tournament to raise $19,000 for various area charities. 19 was Rivers’ softball number.
But the tournament has become much more than just a fundraiser. It its goal to unite communities under Deanna’s love of the sport, over 20 school districts have had players in the tournament over its five-year run.
Clinics were also held throughout the day for younger players.
Next year’s tournament will be held on Sunday, June 10 at the Miss Shen softball fields in Clifton Common. To find out more about the tournament, visit www.deannamarierivers.wixsite.com/tournament