Cranberry Township was flooded this past weekend with hundreds of volunteers and softball players and, more importantly, thousands of dollars for charity. The 15th annual Cranberry CUP, which stands for Community Uniting People, has grown from a small neighborhood softball competition to a mega event that included two softball tournaments, a golf event and a 5K run.
Cathy Cortazzo, a local realtor and long-time resident of the Butler County township, founded the charity in 2000. She and the Board Members selected Jason Koliscak and his family as the main beneficiaries of the funds raised by the 2014 version of the event. Jason, according to the organization’s website, was diagnosed about ten years ago with a chronic liver disease that has recently developed to cancer in the bile ducts.
With this illness and a young family, the Koliscaks have definitely had a great deal of medical expenses and other financial needs. Jason, his wife Melanie and their three three daughters will benefit from the massive fundraising effort, which resulted in over $100,000 through registration fees for the athletic events, raffle ticket sales, sponsorships and concessions sales.
The softball tournament was held Saturday and Sunday, August 2-3 at various fields throughout Cranberry Township, with the championship games being played at the Dick’s Sporting Goods Complex at Graham Park. There is a “Neighborhood Division” and an “Open Division”. The neighborhood division is available only to teams completely filled with residents of specific neighborhoods, while the open division can include any teams, as long as the rosters meet certain requirements. It is a co-ed tournament and all participants ages 18 and up are not only welcome, but never denied participation if they desire. The sportsmanship and inclusion of women and senior citizens is not only encouraged, but required.
This year, The Crossings won the neighborhood tournament (19 teams), ending a three-year run by Pinehurst. In the open division (33 teams), Monticello’s of Cranberry won, sponsored by the popular restaurant. The 5K race, with over 200 participants, was held at Cranberry Township Municipal Park and included a run, walk and Kid’s one-mile run. Benjamin Gardner won the men’s race in 17:16 and Jennifer Bole won the women’s division in 19:11. Finally, a golf outing was held at Cranberry Highlands and there were over 650 in attendance for that.
To participate in future Cranberry Cup events, to give to the foundation or to simply learn more, please visit www.cranberrycup.org and be a part of this wonderful event happening every August in the Pittsburgh region.