Amid a long offseason, the UNC softball, baseball and men's and women's lacrosse teams took a quick break from training to take part in a fun game of "Lax Ball," a hybrid between baseball and softball played with a tennis ball.
Helping to raise funds and awareness for the N.C. Children's Hospital, the four teams suited up in front of a crowd of families, children and UNC athletes for the annual Heel-O-Ween Lax Ball game on Sunday, Oct. 29 at UNC's Anderson Softball stadium. The day was filled with candy and Halloween costumes, all in support of the kids.
“You know, sometimes you get so wrapped up in what you do from a playing standpoint and competing standpoint," men's lacrosse head coach Joe Breschi said. "And [you're not] seeing the bigger picture of what’s most important, and that’s making an impact on kids' lives, and the student athletes have such a platform to do that.”
This was the third annual Lax Ball event, and Breschi, who organizes it every year, credited N.C. Children's Hospital for the enthusiastic turnout. The event raised more than $2,700 last year. While Breschi currently doesn't have an exact amount raised for this year's event, the total amount raised over the past three years has exceeded $10,000.
“It's wrapped around Halloween and the events, and I think the students have put forth more energy towards it, too, and spreading the word," Breschi said.
The event was made up of two separate components. At 2 p.m., families brought their own candy and set up tables around Anderson Stadium for kids to trick-or-treat before the game.
Afterward, the game of Lax Ball began, with the softball and men's lacrosse teams joining forces to take on the baseball and women's lacrosse teams. Several children from the hospital participated, with some batting and others playing in the outfield with the athletes.
“For me, [the most fun part] is just seeing the little kids smile," Alberto Osuna, a junior on the baseball team, said. "Seeing the two kids that hit the homers, like, they're smiling having a blast, and it just puts a little perspective into our lives and makes me feel good that we can help them out a little bit.”
The Lax Ball game ended in a 15-15 draw, with a tying infield home run from one of N.C. Children's Hospital’s very own.