Softball teams take a swing at breast cancer

      SALEM, Ore. - Nearly 40 softball teams spent last weekend using their love of the game to help strike out breast cancer.

      "Play for a Cure" is a softball tournament held each summer to raise money for Komen Oregon.

      "There are women all over in the entire United States that get diagnosed every year with breast cancer," said Monica Smith form the Eugene Xplosion team, "so we want to do our part to fundraise and just participate and it's women uplifting women."

      The tournament got started 12 years ago by Kris Knox in honor of her mother, Linda, who had been diagnosed with the disease.

      Linda died before she ever got to see the first pitch thrown out.

      Four years ago, Kris was also diagnosed with breast cancer.

      She beat it.

      The softball tournament has become a way for teams from all over Oregon to join forces and raise money to support the work of Komen, which includes providing important screenings to women who can afford them, as well as funding breast cancer research.

      "We try to weave in that reminder throughout the whole weekend that, yes, you're here for good competitive softball, but as much as you're individually competing against another team, collectively, we're all competing against cancer," Knox said.

      The teams played 96 games over three days.

      All 4,200 softballs used in teh tournament are dedicated in honor of breast cancer survivors - or in memory of someone who lost their battle against the disease.

      And each ball is thrown into play by a breast cancer survivor at the start of each game.

      Since the tournament started, Play for a Cure has contributed $195,000 to the work Komen Oregon does in the state.

      Knox plans to present another check to Komen at this year's Race for the Cure in Eugene on October 6 at Autzen Stadium.