Organizers of the Jared C. Grindle Annual 1 Pitch Co-Ed Softball Tournament include (back row, from far left) Steve Peasley, Earl Clifford, Bill Leck, Josh Gott, Nick Saunders, Kathy Andrews, Mike Grindle (dad), (front row from left) Tessa Grindle (sister), Kelly Grindle (mom) and Betsy Jones. Kneeling in the very front is Christina Saunders with Walker Saunders and Macy the dog. ELLSWORTH AMERICAN PHOTO BY JENNIFER OSBORN

Teen’s memory honored in annual softball tournament

BROOKSVILLE — A community has channeled grief from a family’s loss of a son at age 17 in a car accident into an annual softball fundraiser that has raised more than $80,000 and sent over 120 children to sports camps of all kinds.

Jared C. Grindle died from an accident on Route 15 near the Penobscot/Orland town line on Aug. 15, 2004.

For the past 17 years, Grindle’s family, friends and neighbors have organized an annual softball competition held over a long weekend in September: the Jared C. Grindle Annual 1 Pitch Co-Ed Softball Tournament.

“It’s a hard deal,” said organizer and former Brooksville Fire Chief Bill Leck. “It’s not easy for anybody, but it’s helping everyone out. It’s helped so many kids in the area.”

Grindle is remembered as an active, loving young man, a baseball player, a fisherman and a hunter with friends of all ages.

Organizer Gayle Clifford of Brooksville said the tournament is usually held two weekends after the Blue Hill Fair, so people have time to recover from the fair.

This year, the fundraiser will be held Friday, Sept. 17, through Sunday, Sept. 19.

The tournament has on average 18 to 26 teams, many from the peninsula but others as far afield as Augusta, Belfast, Bangor and Brewer.

That many teams playing over three days requires more than just the Brooksville ballfield, so the Jim Henry Field in Penobscot, a George Stevens Academy field in Blue Hill and a field in Deer Isle are all called into service. On Sunday of the tournament, the final games are played in Brooksville.

The tournament has become such a tradition that families plan weddings and other events around it, Leck said.

Concessions are available at each game, and those proceeds support the scholarships for local children.

The money raised has sent area children to all manner of sports camps, from basketball to baton twirling to dance, cheerleading, equestrian, hockey, football, golf, trampoline and skate, soccer, sailing and wrestling.

Applications for sports camps are usually distributed through area schools in May, but you can message one of the organizers on Facebook to receive one as well. The tournament’s Facebook page is called the JCG Co-ed Softball Tournament.

Donations are welcome. Checks may be made payable to JCG, 1434 Coastal Road, Brooksville, ME.

If you’re interested in playing, call Dennis Rackliffe at 374-2297. To help with concessions, call Betsy at 326-8296.

If you have no hand-eye coordination, no problem. Spectators are welcome to cheer on all the teams.

Jennifer Osborn

Jennifer Osborn

Reporter and columnist at The Ellsworth American
News Reporter Jennifer Osborn covers news and features on the Blue Hill Peninsula and Deer Isle-Stonington. She welcomes tips and story ideas. She also writes the Gone Shopping column. Email Jennifer with your suggestions at [email protected] or call 667-2576.

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