On Saturday, the Raider softball team hosted the 14th Annual Suzanne J. Buche Cancer Awareness Tournament. Attendees were able to participate in 50-50 raffles, traditional raffles, and a silent auction with fantastic donated prizes. All proceeds from the raffles will be given to the American Cancer Society for cancer research.
The tournament is in memory of Suzanne J. Buche, the mother of former PHS athletes Danielle (Buche) Kingery and Bridger Buche. Suzanne lost her battle to cancer during Danielle’s senior year at PHS.
The crowd was also able to enjoy a menu fit for Memorial Day weekend softball with some authentic BBQ from Sweet Caroline’s Barbeque.
In their first game of the day, the Raiders beat the Patriots of Livonia Franklin 6-4. The Patriots are coached by PHS alum Brittany Grys. The Patriots led most of the game, but a big sixth inning for the host Raiders put them ahead to stay.
In the second game, the Raiders fell to a strong Owosso team, 3-2, but in the third game, the Raiders had a high scoring shoot out with the Eagles of Olivet. The Raiders eked out a 11-10 victory.
Owosso would end up winning the tournament. Both Owosso and Portland finished the day 2-1, but Owosso took first as they beat the Raiders head to head.
After the game, head coach Jack Anderson said, “We have talked about the last couple of weeks, getting ourselves ready for the district tournament. We talked about finishing games and starting strong. A couple of times today we got behind early but we finished in the first game and we finished in the third game. We were playing right to the end. We had the opportunity to win it, and I am really pleased with the way that the kids performed all day long. We had a few mistakes that we need to clean up, but I look forward to an opportunity in the districts. I think our chances are very good.”
The Raiders are now 21 and 10 on the season. They open their district facing the winner of St. Johns and Alma on Saturday morning at 10:00 at Alma.
When asked about all the Buche Cancer Awareness activities, Anderson said, “This day is always bigger than the tournament. I think the kids get it. We talk about the opportunity to give back to the community. The opportunities they have all year long with athletics and the school and this is our chance to give back, and I think they understand how big this day is, and it is not just about softball.”
Between games two and three, all four teams gathered at the center of the field to honor those battling cancer, as well as survivors and those who lost the fight.
During the break, PHS Athletic Director Kevin Veale also presented long time Raider assistant Coach Kelly Grys with a gift to honor her 30 years in the program. This will be Grys’ final year on the Raider coaching staff.
For more photos from the tournament, please see our Facebook page.