COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- In the First Annual Innersole Celebrity Softball Fun-Raiser, South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley and her charity hosted an entertaining event for both players and fans at Carolina Softball Stadium Saturday night. Staley’s team picked up the 11-5 win in regulation, but South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner’s squad rallied for eight runs in the “extra” eighth inning for a 13-12 final.
After a week of boasting about the athletes on his team, Tanner saw Staley’s team establish its offense early against pitcher Brian Buscher. Sheriff Leon Lott laced a double and came home on BET entertainer Big Tigger’s home run to centerfield. Former Gamecock pitcher Adam Westmoreland crushed a homer over the rightfield wall that nearly cleared the soccer practice fields behind the stadium for a 3-0 first-inning lead for Staley’s club. Forrest Alton’s solo homer, his first of many shots over the wall on the night, made it 4-0 after two innings.
Staley got a rally going in the bottom of the fourth when former Gamecock shortstop Scott Wingo couldn’t make a play on her shot to short. Tigger drove in two more runs to put Staley’s side up 6-0 heading into the fourth. Tanner’s group finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer and former Staley Olympic teammate Cynthia Cooper avoided a double play to get on first. Buscher atoned for his spotty work in the pitching circle with his first of several home runs to cut Tanner’s deficit to 6-2. Staley’s group answered quickly with Alton launching a two-run home run to right to re-establish the six-run lead through four innings
Staley’s team continued to power past Tanner’s to make it 11-5 heading into her half of the seventh inning. The fans and players decided to play on as the rain continued to hold off. In the top of the eighth, Tanner’s team finally found the key to Westmoreland’s pitching with Cocky starting the inning with a single. His feet didn’t slow him down as he came around to score two batters later, chased by Chicago Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffrey. Buschur ended the surge and the inning with another home run, driving in two more runs to put Tanner’s team up 13-11 after an eight-run inning.
Auburn women’s basketball coach Terri Williams-Flournoy looked to spark a comeback for Staley’s squad in the bottom of the eighth with a double. Staley drove a double to right field to score her SEC rival to cut the deficit to 13-12, but the Gamecocks’ head coach was left stranded on second to end the game.
The event Saturday night was the fundraising launch of Innersole’s Educate My Sole Challenge, which is a new initiative the organization is launching to help use new shoes to inspire and reward elementary school children to excel in their behavior at school, academics, physical fitness and attendance during each grading period.
For more information about Innersole, please visit www.innersole.org.
INNERSOLE is a sole movement. A movement that effectively changes the negative impact on poverty in our children. A sole movement that allows a common bond of compassion and humanity that unites us by the gift of giving and the responsibility of shaping an enduring imprint.
INNERSOLE, a fund of the Central Carolina Community Foundation, is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization recognized by the IRS. All donations made are tax deductible. For more information about INNERSOLE, log on to www.innersole.org or on social media at @innersoleorg on Twitter and INNERSOLEORG on Instagram.
Click to watch this story from the Saturday ABC Columbia News at 11.