Sabrina Steigerwalt, 13, of Jim Thorpe, enjoyed her day in the limelight on Sunday when the Franklin Township Old Times and the Jim Thorpe Old Timers played the annual Russell "Bups" Ahner Memorial benefit baseball game.
This was the 27th year the game has been played to benefit a person with health issues by the two teams. Sabrina, who has cerebral palsy, was this year's recipient. Sabrina uses a wheelchair and is considered a tri-palegic since she has only the use of one arm. Sabrina is very sociable and loves to play on the computer and swim. She attends classes in Jim Thorpe and is in the IU Life Skills Class. Sabrina loves to go to school.
Sabrina arrived at the Phifer Ice Dam Park in a Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Company fire truck. The smile on her face said it all. She loved the new experience.
While team members have changed over the years, the spirit in which the game is played has remained constant.
The game was dedicated this year to team members who have serious health issues or have passed away in the past year.
Just before Sabrina threw out the first ball, she was presented cash and check donations totaling $2,000, with $1,000 presented by Wayne Wentz of Franklin Township; and another $1,000 presented by Jim Zurn of Jim Thorpe. The two men co-chair the event.
Franklin Township Little League raised the Franklin Township portion of the $1,000 through a Chinese auction, food sales, raffles and donations, while the Jim Thorpe team presented their donation which was raised through corporate sponsors and individual donations. Jim Thorpe donors are Jim Thorpe Hall of Fame, Jim Thorpe National Bank, Jim Thorpe Lions Club, Jim Thorpe Rotary, C&S Railroad, Redline Flooring, Carol and Charles Getz, Karen and James Zurn, Craig and Lisa Zurn, David and Dawn Zurn, James and Sherry McHugh, David and Jody McAndrew, Tom Dedinsky and Leo O'Donnell.
The game has brought the two teams together since 1985. Both teams are tough to beat for their caring attitude and compassion for sick children.
This year the Jim Thorpe team was victorious, winning the game 14 to 12.
The game started out with the Jim Thorpe team ahead and then in the fourth inning, the teams were tied at 9 to 9, but in the fifth inning Jim Thorpe scored runs and remained ahead to win the game.
"We won, but we were missing our best hitter, Randy Rabenold, who was unavailable to play this year," said Zurn.
Also suited up to play was Donald Bloom, a member of the Franklin Township team. Bloom has been at every game since 1985.
Members of the Jim Thorpe Old Timers team were, Tom Dedinsky, Leo O'Donnell, Jim McHugh, Jeff Scott, Jim Zurn, Craig Zurn, Dave McAndrew, Avery Keller, Jim Gower and Mike Luckenbill.