RUNS, FUNDS & FUN: Celebrity softball ‘Battle for Vegas’ raises $136K to combat pediatric cancer
Sports stars and media personalities — including members and ex-players of the Vegas Golden Knights, Las Vegas Raiders, New York Rangers, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels and Major League Baseball — took some giant swings against a pernicious disease at the inaugural “Battle for Vegas” charity softball competition at the new Las Vegas Ballpark.
On June 15, two all-star teams captained by Reilly Smith of the Golden Knights and pro football Hall of Famer Marcus Allen clashed in a duel that raised $136,000 to benefit the Tyler Robinson Foundation. The nonprofit organization was created by Vegas-based rock band Imagine Dragons, and financially assists families of children afflicted with pediatric cancer.
In addition to fans who gathered to witness the contest, the organization Zappos for Good donated $1,000 for every run scored — of which there were 36 between the two teams. The rosters for the squads were:
Team Reilly Smith: William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Erik Haula, Deryk Engelland, Ryan Reeves, Shea Theodore, all of the Golden Knights; Brendan Smith (brother of Reilly) of the New York Rangers; former baseball star Jose Canseco; ex-Runnin’ Rebel Anderson Hunt; UFC reporter Megan Olivi; and KSNV-TV Channel 3 news anchor Bryan Salmond.
Team Marcus Allen: Football Hall of Famer Rod Woodson; Raiders players Trent Brown, Johnathan Abram, Vontaze Burfict, Maurice Hurst Jr., Arden Key Jr., Josh Jacobs and Erik Swoope; former baseball star Shane Victorino; ex-UFC champ Frank Mir and KSNV-TV’s Kevin Janison.
“Look at the crowd,” Allen enthused. “I came here obviously to support the Raiders, the Golden Knights, and the charity, the Tyler Robinson Foundation. I’m having a great time, this is awesome and I love the support. … I’m meeting some of the current players, guys that were just drafted, great guys, here for a worthy cause and obviously to introduce themselves to Las Vegas, so I think it’s great.”
Final score? Team Allen beat Team Smith, 20 to 16.
The event included a tribute to Tyler Robinson, the late namesake of the foundation. (Click here for a feature on his life that spurred the Imagine Dragons to create the foundation, including an interview with Dragons rocker Ben McKee: IMAGINE THERE’S NO CANCER: Vegas rockers Imagine Dragons aid pediatric cancer families)
In addition to throwing out the first ball with cancer survivor Benji Sanchez, McKee joined fellow Dragons member Daniel Platzman and Vegas icon Wayne Newton to perform “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Other performances were provided by the Raiderettes, the Knightline and the Vegas Golden Aces cheer and promo team. Local country singer Sierra Black sang the National Anthem, and three Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning jets from Nellis Air Force Base roared over the ballpark.
“Anytime you can give back to the community that you call home, it’s always the first thing you want to do,” said Engelland. “To come out and see how many people support this event, it’s a no-brainer. This is home for me. It’s gonna be home whether hockey is going or not. … I love it here, the people are amazing, so I wouldn’t want to be any other place.”
To offer feedback on this story or suggestions for future stories on Las Vegas Newswire, contact Managing Editor Steve Bornfeld at SBornfeld@lvcva.com.