The Lewiston Strong Memorial Benefit Softball Tournament Board started as a small organization with only three board members shortly after the Oct. 25 mass shooting, and the organization aimed to create a local fundraising event to raise money for the victims’ families and those injured.

Since its establishment, it has grown to 10 board members and received enough donations to shut down the collection for this year.

The tournament also now includes the “Sexiest Man Alive” and a Spaceman.

The board is hosting an all-day co-ed softball tournament this Saturday, Nov. 11, from 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. spread out across multiple softball fields at the Randall Road complex in Lewiston and Pettengill Park in Auburn. Twenty-five teams are participating, and there will be food trucks and Lewiston Strong merchandise available for purchase.

Board member Abby Cote said everything has come together quickly, with most board members taking on PR, media and fundraising tasks on top of their full-time jobs. She added that Hammond Lumber has also played an important role in the planning and organizing the tournament.

Cote said she and her husband, Chase Cote, chose to join the board due to their close relationship with Ron Morin, who was one of the 18 victims. The board is made up of members of the local softball community.


USA Softball of Maine State Commissioner, Tony Gowell, said the board is a tight-knit group, and this is a way to remember the victims.

“As we sort of manage this grief, together as a group, it’s amazing that we’re able to accomplish what we have accomplished to date,” Cote said. “It just is truly such a magical thing to see people within the community come together like this and a time of grief.”

Morin and Joe Walker, who was also killed in the shootings, were described as two “staples” of the Lewiston-Auburn softball community. Cote said Morin was an umpire with the Maine Amateur Softball Association and Walker was a beloved teammate to many.

While comprised of Lewiston and Auburn softball community members, the board has seen explosive growth in Saturday’s event, with attendees including former Red Sox and current Savannah Bananas baseball player Bill “Spaceman” Lee and the newly crowned “Sexiest Man Alive” and Buckfield native Patrick Dempsey.

Lee will be playing on multiple teams in multiple games Saturday, and Dempsey play for the First Responder’s team. The Maine Celtics and Portland Sea Dogs mascots will also be on site to cheer on players and meet fans.

Other public figures have also contributed to the event through silent-auction donations and raffle prizes. Among the popular items, Cote said, that will be in the raffle are:


• Boston Celtics tickets.
• Autographed sports memorabilia — from retired Boston Bruins player Patrice Bergeron, Bruins captain Brad Marchand, Boston Red Sox pitcher Chris Sale and Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers.
• A new Samsung heat pump
• New boilers.

Included among the silent-auction items are:

• A helmet display case signed by former New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
• A signed football with “Lewiston Strong” inscription by Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow.
• A bat used by former Boston Red Sox outfielder Manny Ramirez.
• Signed bats from New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso and Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout.
• A signed and game-used cleat from New York Mets All-Star Jeff McNeil.
• Multiple Celtics ticket packages.
• Airbnb stays.

There are many more raffle prizes and silent auction items.

“This originally was only meant to be a one day, like, 10-team event, and maybe like six hours throughout the day,” Cote said. “As soon as people heard that we were trying to do a benefit, it really exploded into just something so amazing.”

All of the proceeds raised during the event will go to the victims’ families and those who were injured. The board is working with the Lewiston-Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce to collect funds and will utilize the chamber’s expertise on how to best distribute to the intended recipients.


“Literally, daily, we are being contacted by people within the community and beyond saying, ‘I have this to donate. How can I help?’” Cote said. “We actually just had to put up a post on our social media last night that said, ‘We can no longer accept any additional donations for this year.’ We’ll definitely take anything for the following year, because we are planning this to be an annual event at this point. We have so much that we have to go through that we needed to sort of just pause on what we were receiving this year.”

Cote said that donations made online go directly to the Chamber, and anything additional collected at the event or in person will be put into the same fund.

“We encourage everyone to come and participate, however possible,” Cote said. “I know that the past couple of weeks have just been a lot, in terms of handling grief and coming together as a community, so I think that the more people that we can get out and support this fundraiser, the more we can do for the families. So even if it’s only for a few minutes, just to come check it out, we would so, so appreciate it.”

The event is open to those playing in the tournament and anyone who wants to watch and support. There will be a closing ceremony at 8:30 p.m. to present awards for tournament participants.

For more information, visit, or follow the Lewiston Strong Memorial Benefit Softball Tournament Fundraiser’s Instagram, @lewistonstrongsoftball. Team brackets and schedules, a full list of event sponsors and email subscription for updates are available on the website.

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