Former Liverpool Girls Softball League player Jaimie Bailer was killed in a car accident in 2016. The league hosted a tourney in Bailer’s honor last year and decided to make it an annual event. After the arson, board members — with the Bailer family’s blessing — decided to turn the event into a fundraiser to help offset repair costs.
While a few games have been played at the Liverpool Girls Softball League’s field at James Wemesfelder Park in Liverpool since an arson fire July 2, the second annual Jaimie Bailer Memorial Softball Game on Aug. 5 represents the moment when the LGSL takes back its field.
The league’s concession stand sustained $15,000 to $20,000 in damages when Thomas Cerio, 58, of Trivet Drive, allegedly set fire to it in the early morning hours of July 2. The fire damaged the building’s roof, bathrooms, electrical wiring, drywall, asphalt and exterior brick. In addition, ceiling fans and light fixtures inside the structure will need replacing. The damage is particularly costly, since the league does not have insurance on the building.
To raise money for repairs, the league is turning what was a memorial game for a fallen player into a fundraiser.
“Jaimie Bailer loved softball,” said Denise Murray, LGSL board member and former league president. “When she passed away unexpectedly, her family asked that donations be made to LGSL in her memory as the league and game of softball was very important to her.”
Bailer was killed in a car accident in October of 2016. The league hosted a tourney in Bailer’s honor last year and decided to make it an annual event. After the arson, board members — with the Bailer family’s blessing — decided to turn the event into a fundraiser to help offset repair costs.
“Alumni are very willing to pay to play ball in Jaimie’s honor,” Murray said. “We continue to focus on the August 5 games, rain or shine.”
Softball games begin at 10 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 5, at the LGSL field. Games will be played from 10 to 11 a.m. for grades K through 4 (suggested donation is $5) and grades 5 through 7 (suggested donation is $10). Games for grades 7 to 9 will be played from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. (suggested donation is $10). Alumni and senior division players will play in the Jaimie Bailer Memorial Game at 2:30 p.m. (suggested donation is $15). Please arrive 30 minutes prior to your game to register and make your donation.
In addition to the games, the event will feature a bounce house, and several young LGSL players will have a lemonade stand in operation. Fliers for the event have been donated by Seaboard Graphics/Minuteman Press, and Fastrac is donating food to be grilled and sold. They have also donated a $250 gift card for the league to raffle off at a later date.
Meanwhile, Murray said the league continues to work on cleaning up the mess themselves.
“Our clean up efforts are slowly coming along,” she said. “Outside of the initial cleanup on July 4, we did get an electrician [Bruce Electric] to donate goods and services to make our restrooms operational. Once the roof repair and replacement takes place, the electrician can complete the job in full.”
Murray said help from the community continues to pour in.
“Some local businesses continue to offer donated materials for the repairs to the roof, drywall, bathrooms, etc.,” she said. “Our overhead door had incurred damage to previous years’ vandalism; Overhead Door Company of Greater Syracuse is donating their services and product as well.”
Your empty cans and bottles can also help the league; MSK Bottle Redemption at 7871 Oswego Road or Liverpool Redemption Center at 717 Old Liverpool Road have both set up accounts. Just mark your bags with “LGSL” or “Liverpool Girls Softball League.”
Some businesses are looking to the future. Bull & Bear Pub has made a commitment to help the league’s youth program. Moe’s Southwestern Grill is hosting a giveback day on Sept. 19, when 15 percent of all proceeds from the day will go to the league when customers show a flier or ad from the league’s website or Facebook page.
“We hope for a tremendous turnout that day,” Murray said.
In all, Murray said the goal is simple.
“We hope to have enough money raised to have the roof replaced well before the snow flies,” she said. “We hope to repair our building and keep our league strong so we can offer softball to girls of all ages in the Central New York area.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.