WEST PORTSMOUTH — After a year hiatus, the Portsmouth West Softball Super Scrimmage made its return — fielding a group of teams from the Southeast District and Tri-State area larger than either of its two previous events held.
Along with the Super Scrimmage not being held during 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so too was the entire 2020 spring sports season for nearby athletes.
West softball coach Dani Coleman — also the head organizer of the annual preseason event, which helps raise donations to benefit the Angela R. Arnett Memorial Scholarship fund — said they were excited to host this year’s field of 29 teams, many of which opened their spring season at Doctor Singleton Park in West Portsmouth this past Saturday.
“Due to COVID, we weren’t able to have the super scrimmage last year and we were supposed to have 26 teams. This year we have 29 teams, including us, and making sure everyone follows the regulations,” Coleman said. “It’s been a lot of preparation for us and we’re glad to be able to have teams open their season here with us.”
The mission of the Angela Arnett Memorial Scholarship is to bring awareness of Melanoma and skin cancer in memory of Angela Renee Arnett — and those who have battled or are still battling cancer, according to the scholarship’s website.
Donations given on-site and concessions sold to patrons help provide funds to the AA Memorial Scholarship, and allow the West softball program to host the annual event, Andy Arnett said.
“The donations are a God-send. This year we’re doing a $1,000 scholarship for a softball player at West, and this donation money goes toward that and helping us run the tournament next year,” Arnett said. “I can’t speak to how happy it makes me that this community comes together. We still have a lot of people that want to dive in and help donate — it’s a great thing.”
After not having a 2020 spring season for student-athletes in Ohio and the surrounding area, Arnett says having the scrimmage to kick off the season — and help spread Melanoma awareness — was an important thing in preparing for this spring.
“This means everything to me, and I know to the kids. COVID has wrecked our whole lives for the last year and the seniors last year didn’t get to play at all,” Arnett said. “Dani’s done a great thing putting this tournament together for us, helping spread the word about Melanoma. Softball and team sports in general, they’re really important for our area. I’m really glad the kids are getting to play this year.”
Beginning in 2014 and being awarded annually to Portsmouth West seniors who fit the scholarship’s criteria, previous recipients of the AA Memorial Scholarship include Nate Reynolds, Hannah Maynard, Trevar Welch, Lindsey Johnson, Austin Opperman, Hannah Mayberry, Tre Parick, Terra Butcher, Amber Bledsoe, Marty Knittel, Madison Cochran, Byron Frost, Joe Cyrus, Dylan Bradford, Ivy Ferguson, Cade McNeil and Abbigail Pack.
The 2021 OHSAA softball season’s Opening Day is set for Saturday, March 27, and Coleman said that from the response received by competing teams in this year’s Super Scrimmage, they’re ready to get started.
“We had even more teams register this year than in previous years. It seems like everyone’s excited to get going and make up on the time we missed last season.”