Annual softball tourney celebrates the life of James Mendoza
     2014-08-07      By Doug Harris    dougharris@geringcitizen.com
Courtesy Photo - Pictured is James Mendoza who passed away at the age of 20. Mendoza’s family puts on an annual softball tournament each year to celebrate his life. 
When a young man leaves this world shortly after turning 20 years old he leaves behind an empty spot that can never be filled but the family of James Mendoza gathers together every year to celebrate his life and his spirit. James was an avid baseball fan and by all accounts an excellent athlete. His mother, Mary Ann Mendoza said he had dreams of one day becoming a pro.

This weekend the Carpenter Center in Terrrytown will host the Fifth Annual James Mendoza Memorial Coed Softball Tournament. The round robin-single elimination tournament will begin Friday evening and continue through Sunday. Around a dozen teams are expected to participate. “We had 13 teams last year,” Mendoza said. “Most of the teams are local or nearby. One group is coming up from Kimball.”

All day Saturday the Carpenter Center ball diamonds will be bustling with activity while D.J. Edward Salazar provides music for the event. “It is nice to see James’ school friends and former teammates get back together and play,” Mendoza said. “Relatives visit and it is kind of like a family reunion. We expect friends and family from Colorado, North Platte, Kearney and Texas.”

Mendoza said on Saturday evening there will be a reception at the Eagles Club. “We all get together and talk about my son so his spirit lives on. We share memories. It is all about James. We do this to keep his spirit alive.”

James was a 2008 Gering High School graduate and active with many Bulldogs teams during his time in high school. He went on to pitch for the Gering American Legion team and also played for the Valley Bank Bruins. James volunteered his time with youth programs sharing his love of baseball with other up and comers who shared his love for the sport.

“It is hard to believe it has been five years,” his mother said. “I’m doing good, with great support. That is what helps me. We hold the tournament every August because his birthday was August 14, 1989. He would have been 25 years old this year.”

Mendoza said the tournament was free and open to the public and anyone who wants to attend is welcome. “We might have a little rain on Friday but we think things will be fun. We really do all reunite and have a great time.”

Plaques and T-shirts will be awarded to the top two finishing teams and all proceeds from the tourney will benefit the family of James Mendoza and Carpenter Center youth programs. The ball park is located at 116 Terry Boulevard in Terrytown. For more information call: (308) 635-8422.

“This is a celebration of life for James,” Mendoza said. “He is gone but not forgotten.”

Share this story on Facebook
LOGIN or REGISTER for exclusive access to premium content

Good Morning friend!
Recently Read Sports
1222Annual softball tourney celebrates the life of James Mendoza
666Bearcats' Benson to coach in relocated Shrine Bowl
1158Survival common sense
1159Minatare downed by Sioux County
1242Gering Spirit Squad performs double duty, takes one for their teams
781Gering boys on early season roll
2540All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
1367Bearcats top Bulldogs on the mats
1599Scottsbluff state golf champs aim for repeat
872Bulldogs bats pummel rival
1592Scottsbluff boys soccer stacked with experience
1748Scottsbluff girls’ soccer team returns almost intact
1155Minatare plans mud volleyball tourney
1784New coach leads Morrill boys’ golf
1542Mitchell returns young golf team
822Scottsbluff, Sidney girls tie for first in team scoring at B6 District
1627Gering speakers finish second at state
1572Gering golfers drive toward return to state tourney
797Gering PVC Legion senor team ready to play tough this season
704Adams leads runner-up Bearcats with 3rd state title - Hessler also state champ for SHS; Bulldogs’ Holt places 3rd
Most Read Sports 2012
3918Mitchell track off to a strong start
3796Morrill baseball back in business
3203Rivals make good friends, better training partners
2990Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2900Gering wrestling builds on experience
2800Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2640Raising the bar high
2594Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2578Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2562Gering resident lives his dream
2540All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
2454All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
2404Doing the heavy lifting
2332Basketball girls hungry for more wins
2308Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2286Cougars clench 18th straight Region IX title
2237Beam to golf at Midland
2210Sterkel Colorado bound, inks with Rangers
2127Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
2069Gering Boys’ soccer builds foundation
Most Read Sports 2011
3918Mitchell track off to a strong start
3796Morrill baseball back in business
3203Rivals make good friends, better training partners
2990Mendoza spirit lives on in softball tournament
2900Gering wrestling builds on experience
2800Bulldogs basketball ready to run Class B gauntlet
2640Raising the bar high
2594Gering breaks two records at Chadron: Track season gets underway at Chadron Indoor Meet
2578Kizzire and Kautz take first place
2562Gering resident lives his dream
2540All Points West: Time to get tough Huskers
2454All Points West: We’ll miss 2016 seniors
2404Doing the heavy lifting
2332Basketball girls hungry for more wins
2308Gering girls’ soccer team creating team first attitude
2286Cougars clench 18th straight Region IX title
2237Beam to golf at Midland
2210Sterkel Colorado bound, inks with Rangers
2127Morrill Lions move to eight-man offers opportunity
2069Gering Boys’ soccer builds foundation
Platte Valley Companies
Fresh Foods
American Legacy
Spectrum Photo
Kendell Henderson
= = = Platte Valley Companies' = = =
Sports Page

Check out the
Gering Bulldogs on