Pascagoula is rallying around a pair of men key to making the city one of the best baseball communities on the Coast.
The Pascagoula Dugout Club is holding a benefit golf tournament on Saturday at the Pascagoula Country Club to help pay for the medical expenses of Pascagoula High School baseball coach Richie Tillman and Pascagoula Youth Baseball president Eric Hartman.
Tillman had a benign tumor removed from his spine last month and Hartman has an inoperable tumor on his colon and is undergoing chemotherapy.
Both men received treatment at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, one of the top clinics in the nation.
"We had the date originally set for a fundraiser for the dugout club," Pascagoula Dugout Club president Jon Reynolds said. "Once we found out coach Tillman and Eric Hartman, another gentleman instrumental to sports in Pascagoula, both had medical issues, we started thinking about doing this as a fundraiser.
"In a matter of four weeks we took it from its infancy to having a meeting last week and having almost all the T's crossed and the I's dotted."
The chairman of the tournament is Jason Hamm and Reynolds credited him for putting together an event that's had a good response.
All 36 of the three-man team slots have been filled with each group putting up $150 to participate in the event, which begins at 8 a.m. Saturday.
"We have a waiting list of 10 to 12 teams in case one of the teams drops out," Reynolds said.
Pascagoula mayor Jim Blevins will also be in attendance to thank all those participating in the tournament.
The event will feature other options to donate, including hole sponsorships for $100 per hole.
There will also be $15 barbecue plates for sale during the tournament.
Tillman and Hartman will both be in attendance Saturday at the Pascagoula Country Club.
"Both of these individuals are great people to be around," Reynolds said. "You wouldn't know if you saw either on street that anything's wrong. They're an inspiration to the whole baseball community."
Tillman returned to his Pascagoula baseball team last week and plans on being in the dugout when the season opens at home on Feb. 22 against rival Moss Point.
Tillman won't be in the third-base coaching box as usual, but he plans to send signals to his players from the dugout.
"Richie has still got a long process as far as rehab is concerned," Reynolds said.
Hartman continues to keep up with his duties as the president of the Pascagoula Youth Baseball despite dealing with the impact of chemotherapy.
"He has absolutely no inclination of stepping down," Reynolds said. "He's working hard and not doing anything different than he has done for the past decade. I think we've got a pretty decent board that's taking the bull by horns and helping out, but he's the leader."