Game aims to help 'beat cancer'

The first two pitches thrown at Tuesday's softball game between Huntington Beach and Newport Harbor will have a Vierra family spin to it.

Cathy Vierra will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before handing over starting pitching duties to daughter, Micaela, a freshman right-hander for the Oilers who will officially start the Sunset League game against the Sailors.

It's not just any game, however. The Huntington Beach softball team has joined forces with the National Foundation for Cancer Research by taking part in the NFCR's yearlong national campaign titled, "Beat Cancer with a Bat."

Huntington is hosting Newport Harbor at 3:15 p.m. Tuesday at Worthy Park. All of the proceeds from the sales of baked goods, drinks, pink balloons and a 50/50 raffle held during the varsity and junior varsity games will go to the NFCR, said Huntington Beach softball booster Ron Pasqual.

Admission is free.

Pascual's daughter, Jacqui, is a freshman first baseman for the Oilers.

"Essentially, this team likes to take part in community functions or community service," he said. "The team helped out with a toy giveaway during Christmas at the senior center in Huntington a few months ago and … filled boxes at the Orange County Food Bank. The team wanted to do one more thing. The NFCR approached us and sent a proposal to Coach (Jeff) Forsberg.

" 'Beat Cancer with a Bat' is more on a national scale and it's great to be a part of this because April is cancer awareness month. The team is proud to host this game and Newport Harbor gladly agreed to participate."

The "Beat Cancer with a Bat" campaign sought softball teams from around the country to donate proceeds from at least one game to the NFCR during the 2011 season, Pascual said.

Cathy Vierra is a cancer survivor. She has had two surgeries to remove oral cancer, the last of which was nearly five years ago, she said, adding that she is "cleared" of the cancer.

"I'm very honored to be a part of this, and being invited to throw out the first pitch," said Vierra, a junior high school teacher and softball coach in the Anaheim Union High School District. She was on the road in Santa Maria on Wednesday with the Huntington Beach softball team while it was competing at the Best of the West Tournament.

"It's a great opportunity to bring awareness to the community and to support cancer research," she said.

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