Tournament of Hope benefits fight against cancer

Written by Bob on April 5th, 2012

The Los Favoritos Tournament of Hope men’s fastpitch softball tournament offers plenty of spirited competition and high quality of play among 10 selected Southern California teams.

COLTON, CA – Men’s fastpitch softball tournaments are held for many reasons, fun and competition and camaraderie heading the list. And that’s certainly what Frank “Lucky” Mena and his wife Irene intend for their invitational tournament on the weekend of May 5th that coincides with Cinco de Mayo.

But the couple has a more altruistic reason for hosting their 10-team tournament. They want to do their part in the fight against cancer. And for them it has a very personal meaning.

They lost their son Mark the day before Thanksgiving, 2010. Mark was just 50 at the time. And a year later Lucky buried his father. Both fell victims to cancer. So Irene and Lucky joined hands with family, friends and fastpitch softball enthusiasts to form the first annual “Los Favoritos Tournament of Hope.”

“Losing Mark and my dad to cancer inspired us to fight back against cancer,” said Lucky, 73. “We want to do are part and support the cause.”

The tournament will be held May 5–6 at Veterans Park in Colton. It will comprise 10 teams in a double elimination format. Games will start on Saturday at 9 a.m. with the championship scheduled for Sunday afternoon.

“We want this to be competitive, so only (ASA) B and C pitchers are allowed,” Lucky said. “I have eight teams so far, but would like to get 10.”

As an added treat, the 73-year-old Lucky is coming out of retirement and has formed his own team, the Los Favoritos. Lucky began pitching at 16, and as a teenager, pitched against Eddie Feigner of the “King and His Court” fame. His pitching career took him as high as the open level where he once pitched in the Western Softball Congress, and in an International Softball Congress World Tournament.

But Lucky’s focus is far from resurrecting his pitching career. He is hosting the event for all the enjoyable reasons, along with raising money, hope and awareness in the on-going fight to find a cure for cancer.

“Donations will be accepted at the tournament for the American Cancer Society,” he said. “We will also have raffles, a concession stand, sell t-shirts, and have music with a (disc jockey). We want the tournament to be fun, and promote cancer awareness.”

The entry fee is $250 with the first 10 paid entries accepted. T-shirts will be awarded to the first and second place teams as individual awards.

Teams committed so far include the Colton Dirtbags, Corona Rebels, Beaumont Coyotes, and several top Native American teams.

The tournament kicks off on Cinco de Mayo, a festive celebration held on May 5 nationwide in the United States and regionally in Mexico, primarily in the state of Puebla. In the U.S., the date is observed as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride. In Puebla, the date commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over the French at the Battle of Puebla on May 5.

So the tournament promises a weekend of hardy fastpitch competition, great fun over a festive holiday, and all for a most worthy cause.

“This is our first annual tournament,” Lucky said. “We want to do this every year, and the public is invited to join us.”

For more information, contact Lucky at (951) 203-7168, or Irene at (951) 201-8765.

Veterans Park is located at 290 East O Street on the south side of Colton off So. La Cadena Dr., just a few blocks from the Interstate 10 freeway.

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