Pirates aim to benefit vets during softball twin bill today

Pinckney senior Kennedy Kunnert holds up one of the shirts the Pirates will wear in today's softball doubleheader against Brighton. The games are part of a fundraiser to benefit veterans' causes. (Photo by Tim Robinson)
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PINCKNEY  — More and more these days, high school teams pick a cause as part of their mission off the field for the season.

“Last year the baseball team did a breast cancer awareness game and the year before we had a suicide awareness game,” said Pinckney’s Kennedy Kunnert, a softball co-captain this year. “So we wanted to kind of mix it up a little, and one of my other veterans said, ‘Why not a veterans game?’ And I said, ‘Perfect.'”

The Pirates will have a benefit for the Wounded Warriors Project today at the Pinckney softball field, where they will take on Brighton in their first KLAA West doubleheader of the season.

A giant flag will be unfurled, there will be a seven-gun salute by the American Legion, and a veteran will throw out the first pitch.

That’s on the field. Off the field, admission will be a $2 donation to the Wounded Warriors Project, along with raffles, T-shirts and water bottles.

“It will,” she assured, “be super cool.”

Kunnert, a third baseman who also pitches and plays first, is a young woman who exudes confidence both naturally and earned. She’s quick to spread the credit but unafraid of leading the way.

“I think it’s great because the leaders of our team are involved,” first-year coach Gerald Coggins said, “and Kennedy’s truly been tremendous. Being a new coach, she’s helped me become accustomed to every one, and she’s a top-notch girl.”

Earlier in the week, she had her vehicle (“my mom van,” as she put it) filled with items for today’s games.

The Pirates will wear special T-shirts for the game, which also will give fans a chance to see a new scoreboard in right field, one that lists score by inning

Kunnert, in addition to organizing today’s event, has a prominent role on and off the field this season.

She’s the lone senior among four captains, and Coggins has her being both a peer and a mentor.

“I’ve been having her groom them for next year,” he said.

But Kunnert is quick to spread the credit for the event’s execution.

“Britney Lapum, Ashley Wilson and Mckenna Pilley have been key players in making this happen,” she said, “and I need to thank them because it would have been impossible to get everyone involved as much as we have without them. These girls have stepped up.”

This isn’t the first project she’s been involved with this school year.

“She did a clinic for the younger girls in the area (last winter),” Coggins said. “The softball team put it on here at the school, where the younger girls got coached by the older girls. It raised about $700 for the program, and it was a real good program. She’s run it the last two years, and she coached (Lapum) on how to run it next year.”

Coggins is upbeat about the Pirates, who have struggled in recent years, but he believes events like today’s are good on and off the field.

“In softball, you want to communicate with everyone and be a team,” he said, “and this has brought everyone together. They’re excited about it. The shirts she made a real nice. Everyone is supporting this really well. Hopefully we can make a lot of money.”