Published: April 18, 2013
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The late Robert V. Semenza loved softball, from his long time of playing, coaching and eventually becoming the president of the Moosic Old Forge Men's Softball League
His son, Bob Jr., recalled all the tireless behind-the-scenes work his father did making sure things were running smooth.
"My dad ran tournaments and bus trips," Bob Semenza Jr. said of his father, who died on Feb. 26, 2012. "It's a lot of work, but when it was all said and done, it's all worth it."
That feeling has been passed from father to son, as Bob has found a way to honor his father's memory as well as do some good for a charitable cause.
The inaugural Robert V. Semenza Memorial Men's Softball Tournament will be held Saturday, April 20, at 10 a.m. at Pagnotti Park in Old Forge. All proceeds from the day's events will be donated in Semenza's memory to Can't Stomach Cancer and the MOF Men's Softball League.
"When he was diagnosed in 2009, we did some research online and came across this non-profit," Semenza Jr. said. "We got in touch with Debbie Zelman, kept in contact with her, and any money we raise goes to them."
Last year, a softball tournament was held at Pagnotti Park when the men's softball field was dedicated in Robert V. Semenza's honor, but Bob Jr. had thoughts of doing more for his father.
"It actually came before last year's dedication and we thought about doing a golf tournament, but there are so many of those around," Semenza Jr. said. " We wanted to do something different."
For all Semenza did for softball in Old Forge, giving his time to developing Pagnotti Park complex in addition to his playing, managing and presiding over the MOF league, running a softball tournament just made a lot of sense.
Among the teams involved will be a team made up of the 1987 Salerno's team that was coached by Semenza and won the MOF league title, and a team put together by the Old Forge Police Department.
And there is more than just softball going on. There will be face painting for $5 from 1-4 p.m., a "wheelbarrow of cheer" going off at 6 p.m. at $5 a chance, a 50/50 drawing, a bake sale, and food and beverages available. T-shirts commemorating the tournament will available for $10 on the day of the event.
There will be a home run derby for both youth and adult division for $5 for 5 pitches, as well as the burial of a time capsule at 1:45 p.m.
"There will be pictures of the teams in last year's event, and a softball signed by one of the teams," Semenza Jr. said. "There will be little memorabilia, things like that, and the capsule will be buried at the field, not to be opened until 2032."
There was a lot of legwork to do to pull off this eight-team event, but it's nothing that Semenza hasn't seen his father do time after time for the benefit of others. Bob Jr. is happy to carry on the family tradition.