Wiffle ball tournament aims to strike out cancer

Last year, 17 teams competed in the Save Second Base tournament. This year, there will be 26 teams. CONTRIBUTED

Nick Tarducci was very proud of his mom.

Tarducci, a senior at Temple University, was in fifth grade when his mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was a scary time, but like everything his mom, Christine, does, she faced it head on and got the best of the awful disease. But it wasn’t enough to just beat it for herself, she’s been in the business of helping others beat it ever since.

“My mom has always done fundraisers or things because she wanted to help,” Tarducci said. “She did all kinds of things, and I wanted to help her help because it’s really hard to go through it. You want people to know you support them because it’s hard. I wanted to help her do something.”

What they did was start an event that is fun for everyone and more importantly brings awareness, support and assistance to those in need.

On Saturday, the mother-son combo will hold the third annual Save Second Base wiffle ball tournament at Hayes Playground, 9945 President St. The tournament consists of teams of five to 10 players, registration is $25 and includes a T-shirt, and proceeds benefit the Bucks County Breast Friends, a support group Christine is involved with. The winning team leaves with $500.

The day is about raising money and awareness, but it’s also about fun and wiffle ball, and with the help of many people, it’s growing by leaps and bounds.

“We started out with 15 teams, then went to 17, and this year, we’re up to 26, so we’re getting a lot of people who are happy to help and they love the games,” said Tarducci, a soccer player who also played basketball and baseball at Roman Catholic High School. “People take the games seriously and everyone wants to win and we have prizes and things like that, but people know why they’re there. Everyone has fun. It’s a day about seeing people help other people.”

Tarducci and his mom spearhead the event, but they both point out it’s not about them. They’re also quick to point out it’s a team effort that also includes the rest of the family.

“My dad Vince is the crew chief of the umpires and he does a great job making sure everything goes well,” Tarducci said. “We have a lot of umpires who help out. It’s a tough job because even though it’s for charity, everybody wants to win. My little brother Joey helps a lot. A lot of my friends help out. It’s a lot of work. Everything is volunteer. We’re doing this because it’s for a great cause.”

The day starts out with teams playing “divisional games” to see which teams make the playoffs. Once the postseason portion of the tournament begins, the games get even more intense. But there’s also laid-back times, including the home run derby, music, drawings and prizes and goodies for both players and spectators.

“It’s an incredible day that everyone loves,” Christine said. “I believe every day we’re heading in the right direction for a cure and we’re getting there. It’s really a great feeling to go to events like this and watching a great group of people trying to work together and have fun for a cause.”

She also wanted everyone to know it’s the community effort that makes the tournament such a success.

“I’m lucky that I have a great support system,” said Christine, talking about her husband Vince and sons Vincent, Matt, Nick and Joey. “They have been my rock.

“The Bucks County Breast Friends is a support group I belong to and I’m so grateful for them. More research is needed to find a cure, and we need funds to do so. We’re heading in the right direction and we can’t stop until we find a cure.”

The good news is her son has no intent on stopping.

He’s having too much fun helping.

“My mom does so much, and I wanted to do something with her and this is something we can do together,” Nick said. “She does it because she wants to help. She beat it, but it’s a tough thing to go through. I remember. She beat it and now she wants to help others. I’m just glad I can help her.”