Local dignitaries, celebrities and citizens alike gathered at the Lambrecht Sports Complex in Suisun City on a gusty and foggy Saturday morning for the fourth annual Matt Garcia Foundation Softball Tournament.
The tournament looks to raise money for the Fairfield Pacific Little League's construction of new Challenger Baseball Fields for disabled children. Fairfield Pacific is where Garcia started playing baseball when he was child.
“That's where we first introduced Matt to organized ball,” said Ray Courtemanche, who is Garcia’s step-father. “That’s where the whole linkage is. We made a commitment to partner with them to build these fields of dreams."
Fairfield Pacific has two full-size little league fields, but the softball tourney looks to add at least one Challenger field.
“To be part of creating venues for children to develop themselves intelligently outside of school, outside of churches, outside of their knit corners that these kids hang on, is extremely important,” Courtemanche said.
Courtemanche was preparing to play his daughter Tea-Rae’s softball team in the tournament. The elder Courtemanche expects it to be a fun family rivalry, as she’s a captain for the Vacaville Christian High softball team.
Suisun City Mayor Pete Sanchez, Vice Mayor Mike Hudson and councilmember Mike Segala were in attendance, with Segala dressed in an umpire’s outfit.
“I think the Matt Garcia foundation is a great organization for the Fairfield-Suisun area,” Hudson said. “I think they’ve done a lot of great things for our youth and this softball tournament is just one way to support them.”
Hudson knew Garcia well, designing his campaign Website in addition to being a friend. Hudson said he could be calling balls and strikes later in the tournament with Sagala.
Golden State Warriors radio announcer and Fairfield resident Tim Roye didn’t hesitate to help the foundation when asked to emcee the opening ceremonies.
“Matt was my banker for a while,” Roye said. “You could tell right away when I met him he was going to be something special. His vision of what this area could be is why we’re all here.”
Vacaville resident and recording artist Holly Stell sang the Star-Spangled Banner to open the day, and former Vanden High softball pitcher Adriana Collins tossed the honorary first pitch.
In addition to the ball games taking place, a bake sale, face-painting and snack shack featuring barbecue from chef Peter Garcia of Ahi’s Restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn were available to participants and spectators.