Softball tournament planned for Blackwell girl's medical costs

by Charles Gerian

A local sports organizer has put together a plan to help the family of a local infant battling a heart defect, and she hopes the community will “pitch” in to help the family out.

Laryn Wirtz has organized a co-ed softball fundraiser benefitting one-year-old Natalie Nicole Romero, the daughter of Blackwell residents Pancho Romero and Kailee Peetoom.

Natalie was born March 9, 2018 with a congenital heart defect called tetralogy of fallot. She was also born with pulmonary atresia, MAPCA’s, DiGeorge Syndrome, and absent septum pallucidum. She has spent most of her life at the University of Oklahoma Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City, but she is now at the Children’s Center Rehabilitations Hospital in Bethany.

“[Natalie is] my best friend’s daughter, who is very special and dear to me,” said Wirtz. “If anyone would like to put a team in or just donate towards the tournament or the family, they can contact me through Facebook messenger, call [me], or text me at 580-789-0015.”

The tournament has a $250 per-team entry fee, with 7/3 teams. The tournament will use the American Softball Association's modified rules. It will also use ASA-stamped 52.300 balls, which the teams must supply. Girls can hit any ball, and no Senior or Ultra bats are allowed.

A home-run derby will be held at the tournament, and it has a $10 entry fee. Balls and pitchers must be supplied by participating teams. A per-game limit of two home runs for each team will be imposed, but unlimited home-run bracelets will be sold for $10 each. Members of the team placing first will win jerseys. The prize for the tournament will be dependent upon how many entries are made.

All funds raised at the tournament will be donated to Natalie’s family to help cover medical bills and travel expenses.