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With stars in the sky and on the diamond, The Joseph P. Riley, Jr. stadium was a stargazers dream come true on Saturday night at the second annual Slim Down the South Celebrity Softball Challenge. Local celebrities joined teams with reality stars, coaches, and athletes to take on childhood obesity and help raise money for local charities, Run Buddies and Louie’s Kids.
A pre-game press conference and meet and greet for Charleston Magazine Club members gave the players a chance to get to know each other and the fans who would be cheering for them at the game—and only a little bit of good old fashioned trash talking took place. Reality television contestants like Roberto Martinez, Chelsea Meissner, Kiptyn Locke, and Tenley Molzahn mingled in the meet and greet, while newly appointed University of South Carolina men’s basketball coach, and umpire for the game, promised to give NCAA basketball referee Ted Valentine some dubious strike calls. Television chef Marvin Woods chatted with College of Charleston women’s basketball coach Natasha Adair, both agreeing on the importance of raising children as “outdoor kids” and limiting the amount of time kids spend in front of TVs, computers, and video games.
As fans began to take to the stands, the players took to the field with Team McElveen, captained by LA Angels player Michael Kohn, in white jerseys and Team Baker, led by former NBA coach Al Skinner, in green. Noshing on typical ballpark fare, children lined up to have their faces painted while parents perused the silent action goodies of autographed jerseys, PGA tickets, and Southwest airlines round trip flights.
Louie’s Kids founder Louis Yuhasz took to the field to thank everyone for attending and reminded attendees why we all were there: to help fight childhood obesity through a healthy and active lifestyle. American Idol alum Julie Roberts signaled the start of the game as she sang the national anthem, and Charleston local Quiana Parler treated attendees to “God Bless America.” Team McElveen were first in the field, leaving Team Baker up to bat—with the help of some adorable children who assisted the teams as pinch runners. The excitement was tangible as Roberto Martinez made a diving catch to end Team Baker’s first at bat.
The game was evenly matched, and the players knew there would be no losers in this battle, leaving the players a chance to have some fun and goof around. Actor Bubba Bryant didn’t miss his opportunity to cut loose as he brought his beer with him and reclined in the outfield, only to be joined moments later by teammate Gamecock Brison Celek. The innings flew by as the guests cheered on the players—and even more so the cause. As the seventh inning came to a close, Team McElveen narrowly beat Team Baker, but the real winners were the kids who will receive help from Run Buddies and Louie’s Kids and the funds that were raised on Saturday night to fight childhood obesity.