The varsity softball teams at Grand Haven and Spring Lake are teaming up to host a tournament on Saturday that will raise money to benefit MI-C.O.P.S. — an organization that supports families of police officers who have fallen in the line of duty.
“This is the second year we have done this tournament and have raised money for fallen officers’ families,” said Grand Haven coach J.R. Serna.
The event will be called the Flahive-VanPopering Memorial Tournament, in memory of fallen Grand Haven police officer Scott Flahive and Bruce VanPopering, the father-in-law of Serna who also was killed in the line of duty.
“Each player will wear a game shirt with the name of a fallen police officer on the back, and each player and coach will be purchasing their own game shirt,” said Lakers’ coach Bill Core. “There’s a $5 profit per short, and that money will be donated to MI-C.O.P.S.”
Eight teams will compete in the tournament — Grand Haven, Spring Lake, Wyoming Lee, Buchanan, North Muskegon, Fennville, Oakridge and Holton. Games will be held at the two softball diamonds at Grand Haven High School; the Spring Lake High School varsity field, and at Langland Field, behind Ace Hardware in Spring Lake.
The Bucs will open on their varsity field against Oakridge, while the Lakers open on their home diamond, Wanrooy Field, against Wyoming Lee.
That game will have special significance. Wanrooy Field was named after Larry Wanrooy, a popular teacher and coach at Spring Lake who passed away in 2004. Two of his granddaughters — Erika and Grace Groendyke — play for Wyoming Lee.
“We’ve been trying for a few years to schedule them so those girls would have an opportunity to play on their grandfather’s field, but it hasn’t worked out,” Core said. “When they got invited to this tournament, it was a natural fit to play them so the girls would get that opportunity.”
Games are scheduled for 9 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. The championship game will be at 1 p.m. at Grand Haven’s varsity field.