Prep Baseball

Iowa City baseball programs take the field for charity event

Fight With Flash Crosstown Classic helps raise funds for UIHC cancer patients and research

Fight with Flash

Flash Festival
Fight with Flash Flash Festival
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IOWA CITY — Players will take to the field for a reason a little bigger than baseball Saturday.

Baseball will be a big part of it and fans will get to watch plenty of good competition when the six biggest programs in the Iowa City area share the same field. They also will be doing it to promote a worthy cause.

All four Iowa City baseball teams, Solon and Clear Creek Amana will participate in the Fourth Annual Fight With Flash Crosstown Classic at University of Iowa’s Duane Banks Field. Pregame festivities begin at 11:45 a.m., including the first pitch, introductions and pictures.

Clear Creek Amana and Iowa City Liberty will play at noon. Solon and Iowa City High are scheduled at 2:30 p.m. Class 2A second-ranked Iowa City Regina faces 4A No. 6 Iowa City West at 5 p.m. The finale also will hold its own version of “The Wave” to UIHC patients.

“I’m just excited to be part of a wonderful event,” Liberty Coach and former West assistant Tom Cronk said. “It puts a little perspective on life. Life is a lot bigger than a baseball game. When we have a really good opportunity to do some things for a great cause, it’s really neat.”

The Fight With Flash Foundation was created by Craig and Stacy Schroeder in honor of their son, Austin “Flash” Schroeder, who played for Trojans youth programs and earned “Flash” as a nickname due to his speed.

Schroeder was diagnosed with T-cell lymphoma, championing the motto “Win The Day” as he battled the disease before it took his life at the age of 15 a little more than three years ago. He would have been a senior on the West team this year.

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“It’s near and dear to the hearts of our guys,” West Coach Charlie Stumpff said. “He was a teammate to most of our seniors as they were coming up the youth ranks. A few of our guys were very close to Flash. I know this event means a great deal to them.”

Stumpff said a scheduling error led to the original event. Coaches decided to do this on a small scale and tried to direct the proceeds to the FWFF. He said FWFF’s Anne Johnson has been instrumental in its growth.

Saturday will include baseball bingo, a tennis ball toss at the end of each game and a silent auction to help fundraising. Johnson said a souvenir program also will be available to order the following week.

“Anne Johnson and her foundation took off with it,” Stumpff said. “It’s supported by all the schools. It’s become quite an event.”

According to Johnson, last year’s event raised $22,000 that helps fulfill the mission to help children, adolescents and young adults, along with their families, after cancer diagnosis. Funds are dedicated to help with medical research and raise awareness for ongoing research toward prevention and treatment of cancer, benefiting the Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Center at UIHC.

FWFF has raised more than $200,000, hosting an annual golf classic and charity dance marathon as well. Baseball is a fitting event, especially at a stadium in the shadow of UIHC.

“Baseball has always been an important part of their lives,” Cronk said. “It is a great way to do it.

“It’s turning tragedy into something good. I think anytime you have a chance to do that it’s pretty amazing.”

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The event will be emotional given his classmates are in their last prep season and his younger brother, Cody, a Liberty freshman on the sophomore team, will dress with the varsity.

“It’s neater because Cody is part of our baseball program,” Cronk said. “We’re really excited to be a part of it.”

l Comments: (319) 368-8679; kj.pilcher@thegazette.com

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