Area baseball giants are helping one of their own Tuesday at Riverside Park.
Some of the state's winningest coaches are banding together to hold a baseball and softball clinic, with all proceeds benefiting the Sissy Barnes Foundation.
Sissy Barnes is the wife of Gerald Barnes, a longtime baseball coach at Westside. The field at the school was named for him last season. Sissy has been in and out of hospitals since suffering a stroke in 2005.
Some of Barnes' former baseball players started the foundation to help cover medical costs. All of the proceeds from the $35 entry fees Tuesday will be donated to the foundation.
"It's really kind of humbling to know that people care that much about you," Barnes said. "For the baseball guys in our area to hop on board with this thing and do it is really something special for me. I'm sure I speak for my whole family."
The group of baseball coaches will be headlined by University of Georgia coach Dave Perno, former Swainsboro coach Hank Aldridge, and local names Terry Holder, Jimmie Lewis, Ed Williams, Lonnie Morris, Chris Waters, Ricky Beale, T.J. Davis, Rodney Holder and Craig Johnson.
Aldridge, who will be holding a clinic for another cause Monday, is credited with the idea to raise money for Sissy's treatment.
"He got ahold of me and said, 'We need to do this,' " Holder said. "Obviously, we thought it was a good idea up here, too."
Participants will be split into age groups Tuesday before stretching and throwing. Then, they will rotate between stations stressing infield and outfield play, pitching and catching, and hitting and bunting.
T-shirts will be available for purchase, along with raffle tickets for a hog hunt. Donations can be made at any time and also can be made through the foundation's Web site, www.sissybarnesfoundation.org.
Barnes is approaching 700 career wins with the Patriots. He faced a decision back in the spring when he was offered Lakeside High School's head baseball job while his wife struggled with her health.
Barnes stayed on with the Patriots and was given a half-day work schedule.
"I'm able to be home a little bit more," Barnes said. "That's where I need to be."
Barnes said his wife has been out of the hospital five weeks since her last visit, when she was in for five weeks.
"The doctors told us that it would be two steps forward and one step back," Barnes said. "We've probably taken four or five steps backward since May. Right now, we're starting to go back forward."
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.