Sunday Softball Tournament To Raise Funds For Brianna’s Kindness Park

The Team Brianna Town Park Fundraiser logo. Submitted photo.

By Matthew Yoder —
A months-long collaborative effort of real estate agents and businesses on the Shore will culminate Sunday on Chincoteague in a softball tournament aimed at raising money for a new park on the island to honor the life of Brianna Merritt.
The Brianna Kindness Park, at the intersection of Smith and School streets in Chincoteague, is being laid out in stages, and Sunday’s event will surely bolster funds to move the project along.
Anita Merritt, Brianna’s grandmother, who has been at the forefront of the real estate market in Chincoteague for many years, spearheaded the event back in the winter, planning with fellow real estate agents and homeowners on the island to bring an event to the community and raise funds for the park. To date, $12,000 has been raised, solely from individual donations of Harbour Rental clients.
Sunday’s tournament is poised to attract a nice-sized crowd and add to an already impressive sum raised. Brianna’s legacy has been in the hearts and minds of many on the island for some time.
“The Chincoteague community was at the forefront for supporting her,” Merritt said.
Also stepping up were the businesses, even ones in competition with Merritt’s, to come together for a common goal.
“I’m very appreciative to my colleagues. I had 100% participation,” said Merritt.
The tournament will kick off at 10 a.m. Sunday with six softball teams rotating in a double-elimination tournament. Additionally, there will be food available, supplied by local restaurants, cornhole for the kids, and a pay-to-play home run derby for all ages, paying out ice cream certificates for every dinger.
Admission to the event is free, with one caveat. Anyone attending must purchase a raffle ticket for prizes ranging from a bike to a Yeti cooler and a number of gift cards.
Realtor Meghan Oliver Clarkson won’t be on the field playing, but she will be front and center at the gate, eager to accept the generosity of attendees to the event.
“I’m not a ballplayer, I’m a fundraiser. Bring your dollar bills,” she said.
Oliver-Clarkson jumped at the opportunity to help Merritt and said that Chincoteague is singularly adept at bringing people together for a rightful cause.
“If there’s anything we know about Chincoteague, we know how to put together a fundraiser and help out the community,” Oliver-Clarkson said.
The tournament takes place at the North Accomack Little League complex in Chincoteague, and all proceeds raised go directly to funding the park that was the one-time home of Little League baseball on the island.
“It’s a huge need for this. That’s where we played ball, it holds a lot of memories for Chincoteaguers,” said Oliver-Clarkson.
Such is the case with Brianna as well, as fond memories will soon combine for a fitting memorial to a special individual.

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