Good teams can do great things. On July 17, American Legion Post 68’s Aces are hoping to be the team one young man needs in his greatest battle.
The Aces have scheduled a first-ever alumni game that evening at the Lee S. Jones Park in Eddyville. Fundraising events will begin at 5 p.m. to benefit Owen Matthews. The 10-year-old Lyon County resident is battling Rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare variation of cancer forming in soft tissue, specifically skeletal muscle tissue and sometimes hollow organs.
Matthews’ battle began in mid-September after receiving the diagnosis. Since January, Owen has received chemotherapy and undergone testing as specialists in Ohio and Tennessee try to reduce tumor growth. During his journey, the Lyon County community has come together in support of one of their own. Now, Post 68 is hoping to help the Matthews as the battle continues.
The boy’s sister, Sarah Spurlock, is helping organize the event. According to Spurlock, several area businesses have donated items for an auction planned during alumni night. Greg Vincent, who is also assisting with plans, said all proceeds from concessions and ticket sales will go to the Matthews family.
“We need to have a huge crowd,” Vincent said. “Even if they don’t like baseball, come out and support Owen.”
“We’ve got all kinds of gift cards from Eddyville and Princeton,” Spurlock said. “We have four all day passes to Venture River Water Park, a, 18-inch two topping pizza from Our Daily Bread, a large pizza from Pagliai’s Pizza in Princeton, a $25 gift card to the Black Patch Grille, two pork packs from The Joint, a $25 gift card to Izzie’s Boutique in Eddyville, a $25 gift card for Oasis and a $25 gift card to Hu-B’s in Kuttawa. Eddy Creek will also be in there, too.”
The event will also be a chance to win a few one-of-a-kind items.
“We’re going to have a silent auction and a regular auction,” Vincent said. “We’re going to have the alumni team sign a bat and we’ll auction it off. We’ll also have them sign a bat to give to Owen.”
Not a baseball fan? Well, they may still have something for you.
Vincent said memorabilia signed by country music star Alan Jackson will be auctioned off. So will items donated by Jacob Tamme. The tight end was a standout for the University of Kentucky, and played from 2008 to 2016 for the Colts, Broncos and Falcons in the NFL.
Vincent said the event will help the family as they go forward.
“Our goal that night is to raise a minimum of $10,000,” Vincent said. “We’re going to do everything we can that night for Owen.”
In addition to the auctions and proceeds from sales, Vincent said five batters will take to the field for a special event, Homers For Owen.
Each batter will attempt to smash as many home runs as possible before striking out. Anyone can pledge a dollar amount for each shot over the fence. As of July 1, about $8 per home run had been pledged. Vincent hopes to at least triple that amount by July 17.
For the alumni game, Vincent said a number a familiar faces will be returning. So far, Tyler Estes, Drew Cooper, Gabe Board, Jay Vincent, Cam Head, Cade Duncan, Brody Bridges, Dallas Green and other recent Post 68 standouts will be in the lineup.
“We’ve never had an alumni game here, but it will be fun,” Vincent said. “The alumni are going to wear special shirts. People can come out and get autographs. We’ll have bats and batting gloves for sale.”
Activities will start after 5 p.m. at the Lee S. Jones Park in Eddyville. The alumni team will take the field shortly before 6 p.m.
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