By Michele J. Kuhn
LITTLE SILVER – The organizers of the annual Little Silver one Pitch Tourney and Family Day are hoping this year’s event on Saturday, Sept. 29, will be the most special one yet.
The 2012 edition is being held to honor the memory of Jonathan Bitman, the borough councilman who died Sept. 4 after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The One Pitch Tourney and Family Day will begin at 1 p.m. at the library and borough fields. There will be children’s games, a barbecue, Ralph’s Italian Ices, lemonade and entertainment, in addition to softball. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children.
The tournament has been an annual event since about 1999 and has been a fundraiser to help a family in the borough, frequently a family which has lost a loved one.
Bitman was one of the people who helped spearhead the event in the past, said Peter Roskowinski, who is coordinating the event along with Doug Glassmacher and John Pouso.
“He was an integral part of doing this,” Roskowinski said. “We used to man the grills together. We had a lot of fun … This was the closest thing we have to a family day in Little Silver and he loved that.”
Initially, the group did not have a beneficiary chosen for this year’s event and was planning to donate the money to a scholarship fund. After Bitman died, it was decided the tourney and family day would benefit the Bitman family, Roskowinski said.
“We want to make this the biggest one yet,” he said.
Bitman had been a member of the Little Silver Crocs, a team in an area over-40 softball league. The tournament has been a project of most of the members of the team.
“Jon was always involved in this, always. We always had so much fun … It’s so social,” Roskowinski said. “The money raised is great but it has made people feel they aren’t alone when they lose someone in their family. They realize they aren’t alone and they have support in the community.”
Roskowinski said the organizers hope they will get at least 1,000 attendees at this year’s event.
“This day has to be special this year for Jon because it was special to him,” Roskowinski said.
The rain date is Sunday, Sept. 30.
Donations may be made to the Jon Bitman Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 143, Little Silver, NJ 07739 or through sites.google.com/site/lscrocs/home.