Rusty Malone recently lost his battle with skin cancer. As his family mourns his loss, their friends in the Weatherford Little League are coming to bat for them.
The Weatherford Little League (WLL) is hosting the Malone Family Benefit Softball Tournament Saturday at Holland Park. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to benefit the Malone family, said event organizer Matt Jackson.
Rusty left behind his wife Amy and two children, son Lane and daughter Brooke. He was only 39 when he passed away on June 11.
But more than simply a fundraiser, the tournament is a chance to honor someone who meant a lot to the organization, said WLL President, Geoff Heatherington.
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"Rusty was one of those guys who, if we needed him, he'd drop everything and come up and help," Heatherington said. "He was one of those individuals, while he had a son who played, he wanted to help all kids. Even if it didn't affect his son, he'd be out helping some other players or coach."
Just over a year ago, on Aug. 4, 2015, Rusty was diagnosed with Stage III Metastatic Melanoma Skin Cancer. While two surgeries to remove the cancer were initially successful, a few weeks later the cancer returned, having spread to his spine, brain and bones.
Heatherington said that though Rusty's struggles got harder each day, he did what he could for the WLL for as long as his health would allow. And, when he could no longer be a volunteer, he was still there cheering for his son to the end.
"He wasn't going to let his condition keep his kid from from playing baseball," Heatherington said. "This was a great man who passed away much too early, but he will be remembered fondly by a lot of people.
"They're a very special family. They've been a part of Weatherford Little League for a long time."
The event will be played at Holland Lake Park. It will feature divisions in Men's and Co-Ed. United States Specialty Sports Association rules will apply. Each team will be given one home run and additional runs will be available to purchase prior to the game for $5 each.
Tournament champions will receive t-shirts.
There will also be a long-ball contest for the youths ages 8-14. A plaque will be awarded to the winner.
In addition, prizes will be raffled.
Cost to enter is $200. The tournament is double-elimination.
"Weatherford Little League would like to see all participate in this charity tournament," said Nancy Coker, WLL co-vice president. "This is a great cause for a wonderful family that has been a part of WLL for many years."
Those who cannot make it to the tournament can visit the family's Go Fund Me page at www.gofundme.com/25thhjj8.
For more information, contact Jackson at 817-201-6123, Jeff Mitchell at 817-845-1269, or Jason Swindle at 940-452-2782.