Jason Schilling enjoyed playing baseball while growing up in Dallas and was moved by the opportunity to help others as a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen in Wilkes-Barre.
Those interests will be honored on May 18 when the first Jason Schilling Memorial Home Run Derby is conducted at the Dallas High School field.
The event will benefit a scholarship fund in the name of Schilling, who graduated from Dallas in 2012 and died in an automobile accident later that year, and the soup kitchen.
“The event represents a tribute, a memorial to our son that benefits a student at Dallas High School,” said Jim Schilling, Jason’s father, who is organizing the event. “We hope to be able to maintain and build on the scholarship fund for a Dallas High School senior student-athlete and annually select a community organization that provides services to those in need.”
Jim Schilling is proud of the way Jason helped others as a teenager.
“Jason was someone who always supported the underdogs and had a very fulfilling and insightful experience at the St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen as a community project he undertook,” he said. “It had a real impact on him. I’ll never forget picking him up the first day after he volunteered and his response about the really nice people and how he felt badly for them and hoped they could get back on their feet.”
When Jason Schilling passed away, his family asked that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the soup kitchen.
The Dallas baseball team of which Schilling was a member will play a role in the Home Run Derby, which has a rain date of June 1, if needed.
Volunteer pitchers for the day include coaches and former and current players in the program.
Jim Schilling said a temporary fence will be in place to provide a shorter distance and more possible home runs. In a Home Run Derby, every swing that sends a fair ball over the fence is worth a run and any swing that does not is an out.
Participants will get two rounds of 10 outs each with the top two scorers in each division then meeting in a championship round.
The event is expected to run from noon to about 5 p.m.
The divisions are junior high, senior high for sophomores through seniors and a college/adult division for players age 19-and-over.
“I think it promises to be a family-oriented event,” Jim Schilling said. “We encourage fathers and sons. We have an adult division for the fathers to see if they still have it.”
An entry fee of $10 per person includes a T-shirt and refreshments. The fee can be paid in cash or check to the Jason Schilling Memorial Fund on the day of the event.