By Jay Young
FREWSBURG - The 22nd annual Craig Swanson Memorial Softball Tournament was in danger of not having enough teams this year, but now it has hit the eight-team goal for this weekend.
According to tournament director Sam Zembardo, a last-minute entry pushed the "Swanny" Memorial over the hump so that Frewsburg will not miss out on one of its most popular charity events of the year.
"Usually we try and get as many teams as we can,'' he said. ''We need about eight and that's what we got again this year.''
This is the first year that Zembardo will be directing the Swanny Memorial, although the Frewsburg native has played in the tournament for years.
"It is the first year that I am directing it,'' he said. ''I was one of the (memorial) scholarship winners and I have played in it since high school.''
The Craig "Swanny" Swanson Memorial Scholarship Fund was created in 1992 to honor the memory of Craig Swanson.
Swanson, who graduated from Frewsburg in 1983, was a standout three-sport athlete who passed away following a car accident on Sept. 28, 1991.
The Memorial Scholarship Fund which bears his name is awarded to a college-bound Frewsburg senior who embodies Swanson's qualities of kindness, leadership and athletic accomplishment.
"We've had a team ever since I graduated in 1994, now I'm one of the older guys and we have a lot of younger people. We just keep on recycling players.''
Even though Zembardo moved to North Carolina for several years, he never stopped returning home to participate in the Swanny Memorial Softball Tournament.
"When we first started, there was only one winner that we had for the scholarship back in '92,'' Zembardo said. ''Then every year we have built it up through the golf tournament and the softball tournament, so it has been growing every year," Zembardo said.
In addition to the softball tournament, there is also an annual Swanny Memorial golf outing that helps to raise funds for the scholarship program.
"Usually we give (the scholarship) to an athlete, usually it is within the softball and baseball (programs)," Zembardo said.
Anyone interested in the Swanny Memorial Tournament can call Zembardo at 490-4309 or visit www.facebook.com./SwannySoftballTournament.