March 22, 2006 – St. John is heating up for the 10th annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament, an event expected to bring young women's softball teams to Winston Wells Ball Field April 7 through April 9.
The event raises money for the Ruby Rutnik Scholarship Fund.
Ruby, a St. John resident, was a star softball pitcher at Antilles School who died in 1996 in a Washington, D.C., car crash while attending American University. She was 21.
Andrew Rutnik, who is Ruby's father and also the territory's Licensing and Consumer Affairs commissioner, said he expects seven teams to participate.
He said two will come from St. Croix, three from St. Thomas and one each from Tortola and St. John. This is the first year Tortola and a team comprised of St. John young women will participate.
Rutnik said that because Ruby's pitching style and accomplishments were legendary, a scholarship tournament is a fitting way to honor her memory.
St. Croix's Central High School won the tourney in both 2004 and 2005.
The tournament is timed to coincide with Ruby's birthday.
Rutnik is looking for people who want to sponsor innings, which are for sale at $100 each. The event also raises scholarship money from the sale of T-shirts.
So far the event has raised $180,000. Rutnik said he hopes to hit the $200,000 mark this year.
Food will be for sale. The money raised by food proceeds will go to help fund Love City Pan Dragon activities.
To date, the fund has given out 21 awards, totaling $56,500 to 11 young women on St. John and three young women on St. Croix.
The fund provides two $2,500 scholarships each year to St. John young women and one to a senior at the school that wins the tournament. A fourth $2,500 scholarship, added last year, goes to a young woman enrolled in or planning to attend the University of the Virgin Islands.
Rutnik said that some of the money raised by the event was used to refurbish the ball field and fix the concessions booth. Rutnik said that this year the fund will buy a new scoreboard to replace the one that no longer works.
"It's a great opportunity to see good, competitive softball," Rutnik said.
To sponsor an inning or donate to the scholarship fund, call Rutnik at 693-8069 or stop by Connections in Cruz Bay or Coral Bay or Skinny Legs Bar and Restaurant.
Make checks payable to RRSF Inc.
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