Baseball fans from the Philadelphia area will have the opportunity to take swings from home plate at the 15th annual Richie Ashburn Memorial Home Runs for Heart on May 1 and 2 (8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), making them the first amateur sluggers to take a spot on the soil of the 2011 National League East champions.
The American Heart Association event was designed to give ordinary citizens the chance to live out their major league dreams. It made its debut in 1997, after the sudden passing of Hall of Famer Richie Ashburn, who succumbed to heart disease. In addition, the event also honors long time Phillies announcer Harry Kalas, who also died of heart disease.
Held annually at Citizens Bank Park, Home Runs for Heart is a derby contest (batting only) that enables participants to step up to home plate and swing for the fences. After batting and catching fly balls in the outfield or “shagging,” participants can visit the Phillies clubhouse, take a tour of the facility, pose for pictures with the Phillies Ball Girls and meet the Phillie Phanatic. In addition, the team, individual man and individual woman with the most home runs and the most points (based on distance) will receive prizes and special recognition.
For more information or to register, call (215) 575-5218 or visit www.heart.org/phillywalk and click on Home Runs For Heart. Proceeds from Home Runs for Heart benefit the local research and community education efforts of the American Heart Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
Jackie Robinson celebration
Coaches, players and families are invited to a Jackie Robinson Celebration with a movie presentation starring the legend on Saturday, April 21 at 3 p.m. at the Papa Playground Recreation Center, 68th Street and Lansdowne Avenue. The event is presented by the Delaware and Pennsylvania chapters of Metropolitan Junior Baseball league (MJBL) in partnership with The Winning Team Group (TWTG) and Papa Playground Advisory Council/Youth Sports as part of a celebration by other MJBL chapters throughout the country to honor the 65th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in Major League Baseball. Advance registration is free with limited admittance for onsite registration at the door for only $5.00. Refreshments are available with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the local state chapters of MJBL. Registration forms and information are available at www.thewinningteamgroup.com or by calling (215) 990-3188.
Former E&S star Keisha Hampton picked 22nd overall in WNBA Draft
Keisha Hampton, former Engineering and Science star, who played her college basketball for DePaul, was the 22nd pick overall in the WNBA Draft. Hampton was selected by the Seattle Storm.
Hampton, who played just 12 games this season due to exploratory knee surgery, finished her DePaul career with 1,574 points, 568 rebounds and 227 assist. Prior to the start of the season, Hampton won a gold medal with the USA World University Games team and was a unanimous preseason All-Big East selection.
Shey Peddy selected as the 23rd pick in the WNBA Draft
Shey Peddy, Temple senior basketball star, was selected with the 23rd pick overall in the WNBA Draft by the Chicago Sky. She becomes just the third-ever player from the program to be drafted by the league, now entering its 16th season. Peddy was the first pick for the Sky in this year’s draft, in the second round.
Juan Fernandez signs professional contract with top Italian team
Juan Fernandez, Temple senior guard, has signed a multi-year contract to play professional basketball for EA7 Olimpia Milano, a top-level Italian team. One of the top Lega Basket Series A teams, Olimpia Milano has won 25 Italian championships, four Italian Cups, and three Euroleague championships.
Fernandez, who just finished playing in the Portsmouth Invitational this past weekend, finished his career at Temple ranked among the all-time leaders in assists with 424 (7th), three-pointers made 207 (7th) and three-point percentage (.402, 2nd). The two-time All-Atlantic 10 Conference and All-Philadelphia Big 5 selection also scored 1,247 points to place 33rd on Temple’s all-time scoring list.
Fernandez, a two-time academic all-conference honoree, will graduate from Temple in the summer with a degree in broadcast journalism.