ELOY — Six teams from around Eloy battled Friday in hopes of being the last standing to hoist the trophy for the Eloy Ballslinger Tournament.

In a nail-biting championship game between Robson Ranch and the Eloy Fire District, a big final inning was the difference in a 38-21 victory for the firefighters.

The annual softball tournament that was typically a single game between the Police Department and the Fire District was revamped this year to include more of the community.

“We had consistently done the game for the last four years,” Eloy Fire District Battalion Chief Derrick Ethington said. “We wanted to start including more teams and make it more like a tournament. We’re hoping it will eventually morph into where we do a fall and spring tournament. We’re trying to start a league and this is the tournament. We’re hoping to add teams every year.”

The six teams originally scheduled to play in the tournament were the Police Department, the Fire District, Public Works, Skydive Arizona, Robson Ranch and CoreCivic.

CoreCivic was unable to compete, so Santa Cruz Valley Union High School stepped in with a team composed of athletes from a variety of sports.

Another addition to this year’s tournament was a trophy of the Eloy water tower, an inspiration from a new city councilmember.

“The trophy was a new thing and whoever wins it will keep it until the next tournament,” Ethington said. “Georges (Reuter) came up with the idea and he wanted something that you could actually see from the freeway and it’s part of what Eloy is.”

The day began with the traditional Police Department versus Fire District game that was followed by Robson Ranch and SCVUHS Athletics and then Skydive Arizona versus Public Works.

The tournament followed a point system and the Fire District earned an automatic bid to the championship and the semifinal game was between Robson Ranch and Public Works.

Ethington hopes to get more of the community involved in the future and that people wish to join in with their own team for the next tournament to contact him.

The purpose of the tournament is to help raise money for the Adopt-a-Family program during Christmas which provides families with meals and toys for the children.

“Everybody has been very positive,” Ethington said. “A lot of good feedback because everybody knows that every bit of money that we make is going back into the Adopt-a-Family that we do at Christmas time.”

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Maria Vasquez is a reporter covering Eloy, Arizona City and sports. She can be reached at mvasquez@pinalcentral.com.

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