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Play Ball! Teams Play In "Believe in 17" Tourney for Emily PDF Print E-mail
Written by Diana Martinez | Editor   
Thursday, 05 December 2013 05:39

Some players have painted their faces in support of Emily Lomeli.

This Is Part 3 In A Series

Ed. Note: The youth baseball tournament begins on Friday, Dec. 6, at 5:30 p.m. at Las Palmas Park on Huntington Street in San Fernando, and the Granada Hills Little League on Rinaldi and Woodley avenues in Granada Hills. On Saturday, Dec. 7, the games begin at 7:45 a.m. The Opening Ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. at North Valley Youth Baseball on Balboa Boulevard in Granada Hills. On Sunday, Dec. 8, the elimination and championship games will be held at North Valley Baseball League. Another tournament will be played Dec. 7-8 by the 9U Commandos at the VTV Complex in Valencia, near Magic Mountain. One hundred percent of all funds raised will be used to defray medical costs and treatment.

Youth baseball teams from the San Fernando Valley and surrounding communities, including Santa Clarita and Valencia, will show their support this weekend for 10-year-old baseball player, Emily Lomeli.

Emily, a fierce competitor who loves the sport and who is the only female player on the Granada Hills "Titans," is well known among the valley youth teams. So, when the news traveled among the teams that "the girl baseball player" was diagnosed with a rare case of ovarian cancer and has been going through chemotherapy, the youth baseball community was moved to action, planning a tournament to raise funds to help with medical and related costs for Emily's treatment.

"She is just so unbelievable," said her coach Roger Tafolla. "She even asked me if she could play, so I asked her [tongue in cheek] if her doctor had cleared her and she just gave me a little smile."

Coach Roger said he told Emily that her getting back on the field is a goal they are all working toward.

Emily will go back to the pediatric ward at LAC-USC Medical Center next Monday, where she has been receiving treatment, to begin a third round of chemotherapy. But right now she is focused on supporting her 8-year-old twin brothers as they get ready to play, and cheering on the Titans.

Emily plans to attend the Titans game on Friday night in Granada Hills and the opening ceremony on Saturday at the North Valley Baseball League, and said she hopes to watch as many games as she can.

"Emily is so excited about the tournament. As we have gotten closer to the date she looks more energized," said her mother Edwina. "We know she wants to be out there with her teammates. So we will be bundling her up and keeping an eye on her temperature."

Coach Roger said there were more teams that wanted to play than they could accommodate, "Still they are coming out to watch the games and support Emily." Some of the teams paid the registration fees as their donation to support her, even though they won't be playing.

"During the tournament, the Titans with about 60 players and 20 adult coaches will be wearing special orange jerseys bearing Emily's jersey number – the number 17 which is in teal, [the color symbolizing the fight against ovarian cancer]," Coach Roger said.

Other teams are expected to acknowledge Emily during the tournament in their own ways. Some of the players have chosen to paint the words "I believe in 17" on their faces during past games as a demonstration of support.

"Everyone has pitched in," Coach Roger said. "Truline Printing in San Fernando donated the printing for the Titan's jerseys. We will be raffling off donated items for nearly every hour; all the food and concession items with a full snack bar have been donated. High school students from Alemany, Chaminade and Oaks Christian School are also volunteering "

What started as a "little local fundraiser" has grown to the point where he had to turn away teams, Coach Roger said. "The Easton Cranes from Simi Valley and the North Valley Bull Dogs will be coming to watch the tournament even though we couldn't accommodate them to play. But they are examples of two of the teams that are donating their registration fees to help Emily, which is pretty awesome."

The City of San Fernando donated the use of Las Palmas Park where the Santa Rosa Baseball team plays, and the Granada Hills Little League donated their field. Both fields have lights, which enables the tournament to begin on Friday night.

"We want to thank everyone who has supported Emily with the tournament and with prayer. It has really helped. I have read the Facebook messages to Emily every night before she goes to bed and it has made a difference for all of us. We hope everyone can keep the prayers coming," Edwina said.

"It is all pretty awesome, and we want to invite everyone to come out and watch us play," Coach Roger said. "It's great to see, because while the teams play against each other, in the end we are all one team."

Los Palmas Park is located at 505 S. Huntington Street in San Fernando. The Granada Hills Little League facility is located at 16035 Rinaldi St. in Granada Hills.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 00:17