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Hundreds come out for Deanna Rivers All-Star Game
ALBANY—Hundreds of people gathered at the Christian Plumeri Sports Complex in Albany on Sunday for the first-ever Deanna Rivers 518 Softball Memorial All-Star Game. Deanna Rivers was a senior softball stand-out at Shenendehowa High School when she and her friend Chris Stewart, also a senior at Shen, were killed in a horrific crash along the Northway.
According her teammates, Deanna Rivers shined on the softball diamond but this season, that light was missing. “It was tough, it was very tough, but we did go to a few games,” Debbie Rivers, Deanna’s mom, told CBS6. Brian Rivers, Deanna’s dad says, “the first walk down the sidewalk at the filed was probably one of the most difficult days that we've had in a few months cause we'd been there for 8,9,10 years…even now, it doesn't get any easier going down the sidewalk because she's not there.”
Debbie and Brian say Deanna’s teammates have done everything they can to help ease the pain, “they've included her in every team meeting, and they leave a spot for her in the team warm-ups and the chant at the beginning of every game and a lot of the girls come to the house when they have free time... it just means so much to us, on days you really don't want to get out of bed and do things, they're texting you, calling you, saying daddy Revs what are you doing today, let's do lunch,” Brian says.
After all the River’s have been through, they wanted to give back to a community that has overwhelmed them with support. They honored Deanna’s memory on Sunday with a tournament for stand-out senior softball players from across the Capital Region. Deanna’s sister and grandfather threw out the first pitch and every player wore #19, Deanna’s number since grade-school. A scholarship was awarded to the MVP of the winning team. Deanna’s friends and family are hoping the tournament now becomes an annual event.
“She was one that always smiled and loved the game and I think if we can keep this going for the next 10 years, that'll be just awesome. It's been a really hard season but to see everyone come together like this and to be smiling, knowing that she would want us all smiling right now, all the support has really been awesome,” Katie O’Gornan told CBS6. O’Gorman was a friend and teammate of Deanna Rivers on the Shenendehowa Softball Team. She played in Sunday’s all-star tournament, wearing softball pants with #19 embroidered into them and purple hair ribbons in River’s honor. Even the location of the tournament was significant, St. Rose College runs the field. Deanna had been accepted at the school but her parents didn’t find out until about a week after she died.