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Mansfield University and Joel Stephens Tournament Raise more than $1500 for Warren L. Miller Elementary School in “Hitting the Books”


MANSFIELD – Mansfield University, Mountaineer athletics and the Joel Stephens Invitational Tournament teamed up to sponsor “Hitting the Books” last Saturday that raised more than $1500 to replace books and school supplies destroyed by a fire at Mansfield’s W.L. Miller Elementary School.

“This kind of effort is what makes you proud to be part of this community,” said Sam Rotella, head teacher at W.L. Miller Elementary School. “Although the restoration teams have worked incredibly hard to save everything possible, the school still suffered significant losses of books and supplies. Rest assured this money will go directory into helping the students in the rooms destroyed by the fire. We, and those kids, greatly appreciate the effort that went into raising this money.”

Rotella and Mansfield University head baseball coach Harry Hillson competed in a hitting contest between games of the baseball doubleheader. Each had ten pitches with each ball worth $25 from donated funds.

Hillson, showing he still has it, was a perfect 10-10 from the plate. Rotella, who pulled a muscle on his first swing, was replaced by W.L. Miller student Tyler Hillson who also went a perfect 10-10 raising $500.

Lindsey Stephens presented Sam Rotella with a check for $500 from the Joel Stephens Invitational Tournament, which held each summer in Mansfield to honor the memory brother Joel.

“This is the type of thing we raise money for,” said Stephens. “Joel loved this area, baseball and kids. He would be thrilled to know that something was being done to help people in need with money raised in his name.”

The Mansfield University softball team also sponsored a hitting contest after their doubleheader with East Stroudsburg on Saturday.

The team invited the Mansfield Little League Minor Softball team to take batting practice with $5 for each hit going to the “Hitting the Books” fund. The softball team raised $500 during the batting practice.

Other donations came from Mansfield University athletics and individual Mountaineer teams including baseball, softball, men’s basketball and women’s soccer. Additional funds were donated by First Citizens Bank and private donations.

The Mansfield University Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) was also on hand to “pass the hat” during the doubleheaders with fans donating $301 to “Hitting the Books” at the events.


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