Michelle Gallagher Softball Tournament

FLORENCE — Even a global pandemic can’t stop the 2020 Michelle Gallagher Softball Tournament.

The Town Council voted to host a virtual tournament Monday; teams will compete to raise the most money instead of batting the ball and running the bases in person.

The proceeds will be split evenly between the town and the Michelle Gallagher Foundation for its respective youth sports and activities.

The Michelle Gallagher Foundation’s annual spring tournament was not held because of COVID-19, so the town offered to sponsor the virtual tournament.

Up to 12 teams will pay $100 to participate, and the public will help players round bases by donating money in the team’s name. Play will be a single-elimination, bracket-style tournament with winners announced weekly.

Town staff will provide commentary on games as if there were actual home runs and a seventh-inning stretch. The team that raises the most money wins the tournament.

Matchups will run Friday to Wednesday with the new week’s matchup posted on Thursdays. Teams will be encouraged to rally each week for donations in order to win the championship.

Michelle Gallagher was a three-sport varsity athlete at Florence High School and volunteered countless hours with local youth sports before her death in 2014. Since 2018, the foundation begun in her honor has provided the town with $12,000 for scholarships for youth programs.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council voted to reallocate $5,000 the town had planned to donate to Florence’s Grad Night Lock-in party, which wasn’t held because of the pandemic. The money will now be divided among youth scholarships and business license rebates.

Youths will be able to win scholarships of perhaps $100 each to pay for a program, sport or activity of their choice. Funds will be paid directly to the program in the child’s name. Brick-and-mortar businesses in the town limits will each receive a rebate on their business licenses for the fiscal year 2019-20.

Recruits honored

The council recognized new graduates of Florence High School who have enlisted in the military. Council members individually offered their thanks, congratulations and best wishes.

Several of the recruits were present at Monday’s meeting.

  • Gianna LoVecchio and Venicia Street have enlisted in the Army National Guard;
  • Gabriel Alston, Francisco Reyes, Michael Reyes and Shaun Vanzalen have joined the Marines;
  • Travion Tarver and Jacob Harrison have joined the Navy;
  • Gage Doughty, Jose Franco, Jose Granillo have joined the Army.

Mayor Tara Walter also issued a proclamation celebrating the Army’s 245th birthday.

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Mark Cowling is the county reporter for PinalCentral and covers the town of Florence, San Tan Valley and the surrounding area. He can be reached at mcowling@pinalcentral.com.

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