Tournament to benefit injured Lassiter player
by Noreen Cochran
October 27, 2012 01:28 AM | 5007 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lassiter High School baseball player Chris Heitzman, left, gets a visit from Brian Jordan, retired outfielder for the Atlanta Braves and St Louis Cardinals, at the Shepherd Center in Buckhead on Sept. 27. A tournament at the high school this weekend is set to benefit Heitzman, who was injured in a car crash on July 7.<br>Special to the MDJ
Lassiter High School baseball player Chris Heitzman, left, gets a visit from Brian Jordan, retired outfielder for the Atlanta Braves and St Louis Cardinals, at the Shepherd Center in Buckhead on Sept. 27. A tournament at the high school this weekend is set to benefit Heitzman, who was injured in a car crash on July 7.
Special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — A baseball tournament today and Sunday will help the Heitzman family care for their son Chris, a Lassiter High School baseball player who was critically injured in a July 7 car crash.

The two-car accident on Trickum Road near Netherstone Drive killed driver, Ryan Aschenbach, 18, and also injured fellow passenger Tyler Seaman, 18, and Joanne Green, 52, of Roswell, the driver of the other car.

According to a blog kept by Chris’ father, Randy, the 18-year-old is recuperating at Shepherd Center in Buckhead from massive injuries he suffered when he took the brunt of the T-bone collision.

“His injuries are extensive,” Heitzman wrote in July. “He has a mild sub-arachnoid hemorrhage and cerebral contusion which they are monitoring closely. He is unconscious and on a ventilator. Other injuries include multiple fractures — a fractured scapula, bilateral fractured ankles, sacrum and possible hand fracture. He has a pulmonary contusion and ruptured bladder and a small laceration to the spleen.”

Lassiter coach Scott Kelly said the dollar goal for the tournament was $5,000, but with $4,000 in team fees and $1,500 earned Thursday night, the first night of the tournament, the new goal may be $7,500.

“Heck, we might even go higher,” he said.

An auction and raffle features sports memorabilia like autographed baseballs, hats and a cleat.

“We’re lucky we have some great baseball connections,” Kelly said.

The tournament, which features 10 teams that each paid $400 to participate, is at Lassiter High School, 2601 Shallowford Road in Marietta.

Beginning at 9 a.m. today, the Nelson 15 will play the East Cobb Dirtbags, the East Cobb Scorpions will challenge the West Cobb Cardinals, Shamrock Baseball will face the Sandy Plains Prowlers, the Georgia Longhorns will take on the Nelson 16, and the Sandy Plains Wildcats will go up against the East Cobb Indians.

On Sunday, the Wildcats will square off against the Longhorns, the Nelson 16 will take on the Dirtbags, the Nelson 15 will play the Scorpions, the Indians will be matched up against the Prowlers and Shamrock will challenge the Cardinals.

Admission is free, but donations will be accepted at the entrance and all food sales will benefit the cause.

Chick-Fil-A will have biscuits in the morning and sandwiches in the afternoon, while Sunday’s barbecue provider is Catering Cajun.

“All the food was donated,” said Scott Templeton, whose son, Michael, 16, is a Wildcat and a junior varsity Lassiter Trojan. “A lot of families donated their time. The referees donated their time. It’s a really neat thing to see everyone coming together.”

The community has held other events for the Heitzman family, including a blood drive and another fundraiser at a Chick-fil-A restaurant.

Kelly said he visited Chris on Wednesday at the hospital, which specializes in brain and spinal injury treatment and rehabilitation.

“He’s fighting hard,” Kelly said. “That’s the type of player he was. He wanted the team to do well.”

The team feels the same way about him, Kelly said, starting with reverence for his jersey.

“No one’s going to wear No. 17 till he’s better. Nobody’s, obviously, wearing it this year,” Kelly said.

As far as next year goes, hopes are high for the season opener.

“I would love it if he were able to get back there and throw out the first pitch,” Kelly said.
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