Faculty Softball Challenge games set for May 29


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The 14th annual Faculty Softball Challenge will take place May 29 at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. Representing their schools are Shannon Riley, left, of Viera Charter School; Jessica Haislip of Manatee; Katie Caruso of Quest and Yvonne Shepard of Ralph Williams.

Carl Kotala

The Faculty Softball Challenge is gearing up for its 14th season, and this time there’s a little bit of a twist.

The winners of last year’s games, which pit faculty and staff from four local schools against each other, will face off May 29 at the USSSA Space Coast Complex.

Viera Charter School is set to face Quest Elementary at 6 p.m. in the matchup of last year’s winners. The 7:15 p.m. game will feature Ralph Williams Elementary against Manatee.

“It’s the second-to-last day of school, which is nice because the next day you get to interact with the kids who came to the game and they can pat you on the back, tell you they appreciate your efforts,” said Todd Zgonc, a teacher at Manatee and the game’s organizer.

The winners of this year’s games will meet in 2020.

This will mark the second consecutive year the annual event has been held at the USSSA Space Coast Complex. It was not held in 2017 while the complex was undergoing a $50 million renovation that turned it into a state-of-the-art facility with 15 turf fields.

Quest Elementary teacher Katie Caruso didn’t play in last year’s game, but she said all of her teammates loved being on the new field.

“We’re all excited about using the new complex,” Zgonc said. “It’s obviously a pretty big deal for us. … The look of it is so much different, too.

“It’s just looks more spectacular. The green is as green as can be. It’s kind of neat to (play) on that.”

Tickets are $3 at each school and $5 at the gate on the day of the game. Concession stands will be open. Though the event is not designated as a fundraiser, proceeds will benefit all four schools.

The main sponsors for the game are Perry Fiberglass and Ellingson Properties. The Chick-fil-A cow also is expected to be on hand at what is always a fun community event.

“Everyone looks forward to this every year because it’s the kickoff to the summer,” Zgonc said. “It kind of let’s you know summer’s starting.”