HARRISBURG, S.D. (KELO) — “Bigger than baseball” that’s what members of the Harrisburg Baseball Association had to say about the first Alex Kummer Memorial Tournament hosted in Harrisburg over the weekend.
“Alex loved the sport,” Stefanie Kummer said.
The tournament is held to remember Bob and Stefanie Kummer’s son Alex, a 16-year-old baseball player who died by suicide last September.
“He was one of them that was always in the dugout, you know, cheering on his teammates and having the banter and lots of chatter,” Stefanie said.
The Kummer family is working to set up the “Alex Kummer Memorial Foundation.” Proceeds from this tournament will benefit the foundation and work to put a spotlight on suicide prevention.
“When tragedy strikes in a close-knit community like ours, I think it’s a natural reaction for everyone to look for ways to help. It’s been something we’ve talked about since it happened and very thankful that the Kummer’s are willing to participate in the way that they have,” Harrisburg Baseball Association president John Sutton said.
Harrisburg Maroon Junior Legion baseball head coach Zeb Wede coached Alex last year.
“We had a ball the entire time that was in the dugout that said ‘For Kummer,’ and everybody would look at it and just know what it was actually for. I mean, of course we’re out here trying to win. It’s baseball, everybody likes to win, but sometimes it’s bigger than baseball, and it was definitely like that this weekend,” Wede said.
Junior Legion baseball team Sioux Falls East was crowned the tournament champion Sunday morning.
“It was a great tournament just to tell them to embrace each other. Pick each other up. Have each other’s back throughout the entire year, you know, because that stuff really matters and it matters to me a lot, too, as well. I think this weekend had a great impact on everybody here, and I’m just really happy that we got to be a part of it,” Sioux Falls East head coach Jake Barkema said.
“It has helped us so much through the worse thing that, you know, it’s unimaginable having this happen in our family. It’s something that we never saw coming and to feel that love and support from people has helped us through the hardest time of our life,” Stefanie Kummer.
“Trying to make something good come out of an absolute tragedy,” Bob Kummer said.
Eight teams competed in the tournament in this its first year; organizers are hopeful to double its size next year.