Softball tournament to benefit Craig umpire, coach

Two-day tournament to help Roman Gutierrez pay medical bills

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Roman Gutierrez

If you go

What: Softball fundraising tournament

When: 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday

Where: Loudy-Simpson Park, 500 S. Ranney St.

For more information, call Manuel Madrid at 629-8472.

As Roman Gutierrez got into his umpire crouch at a softball game last summer, it seemed like any other of the dozens of games he’s officiated.

One moment he was standing, ready to call a ball or strike, and the next he was on the ground, unconscious for several seconds with a gash across his forehead.

As a batter swung at a pitch, the bat slipped out of her hands and hit Gutierrez above his left eye.

The longtime Moffat County High School wrestling coach was sent to the hospital, but this summer, he is back behind home plate.

On Saturday and Sunday, the Craig Softball Association will host a fundraising tournament to help Gutierrez cover his medical costs from the accident.

Gutierrez, who will umpire some of the benefit games, said he doesn’t think too much about the accident when he’s behind the plate.

“You can’t think about it,” he said. “It was just a freak accident — I wouldn’t have come back if it worried me.

“You just deal with it and move on.”

The tournament will start at 9 a.m. Saturday, and Sunday’s starting time will vary to the number of teams.

Manuel Madrid, Craig Softball Association vice president, said the tournament will benefit all umpires, with special consideration given to Gutierrez.

“We want him to know how much we appreciate everything he has done,” Madrid said. “There isn’t much money in being an umpire, but he takes a lot of his time to help us out.

“He’s a staple (at the games). He’s still out there umpiring games.”

Madrid said he hopes to have as many teams as possible for the tournament.

“Right now, we have eight teams,” he said. “But, we would like to see somewhere around 20 teams.

“The more, the better.”

Any players not associated with a team can come and sign up, Madrid said.

“If there are enough individuals, we could put a team together,” he said. “Some players could be put on other teams, too.”

The money raised from the tournament will help Gutierrez pay more than $1,200 in medical bills from the accident.

Any additional money will be used to pay umpires for the softball season.

“If something like that happens again, we’ll have some money just in case,” Madrid said.

In addition to the tournament, there will also be a coed home run derby.

Men will take their cuts from home plate, while women can stand on second base and try to launch a few over the fence.

There will be a $5 entry for the derby, with cash prizes going to the top three sluggers.

Depending on how many teams sign up for the tournament, it will either be a double elimination or round-robin format.

The cost is $200 to register a team, and less than $20 for an individual to sign up.

Madrid also added that donations are welcome.

Gutierrez said he appreciated everything the association is doing on his behalf.

“It’s a really nice gesture,” he said. “They said from the beginning they were going to help, and they definitely are.”

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