On Saturday, Dec. 14 the Virginia Wesleyan University softball team will be hosting the “First Pitch Dinner” at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach in Norfolk, Va. This is the first time in Virginia Wesleyan Softball history that a ‘First Pitch Dinner’ will take place. The entire ‘First Pitch Dinner’ program plans to go on from 5:30pm until 8:30pm.
This dinner will have different types of events and even special guests. The first event, which starts at 5:30, will be the MVP social hour. The MVP social hour is a smaller setting for donors, sponsors of the event or people that bought the ticket to get a little more access to special guest Patrick Murphy. To comply with NCAA recruiting restrictions, the MVP social hour will only be for adults because Murphy isn’t allowed to speak to prospective student-athletes.
Then at 6:30 the actual dinner and silent auction begins. Virginia Wesleyan head softball coach Brandon Elliott says “we’re not sure yet on what we are going to auction but we anticipate on hotel stays, memoriables, autographs, and things more softball/baseball related.”Patrick Murphy is a Hall-of-Famer for the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and the head coach for the Alabama University softball team. The second guest is Bob Groves is a business consultant, leadership coach and a speaker. Although those are two big guests, the audience will also hear from Brandon Elliott the head coach for the Virginia Wesleyan Softball team. Elliott, has helped the team win two back-to-back national championships in 2017 and 2018.
The prices for these tickets are pricey, starting at, $75 dollars for a general admission ticket, $700 dollars for a general admission table of 10, and $50 dollars for an MVP social hour ticket. There are chances for companies and people to be sponsored by the ‘First Pitch Dinner’ program. There are five different types of sponsorships available, all having different prices for certain exclusives. From cheapest to most expensive, the sponsors are general event sponsors, table sponsor, MVP table sponsor, social hour sponsor and first pitch dinner sponsor. These sponsors’ price ranges vary from $500 dollars to $2500 dollars.
Elliott said the “First Pitch Dinner” could be an exceptional fundraiser for our program and to bring somebody in like Patrick Murphy, who is a big-time name in NCAA softball, is huge for our local community.” Elliott also plans to hold a camp before the ‘First Pitch Dinner’ so they can attract a lot more talented individuals because there is a lot more talent at a camp when you have a coach like Patrick Murphy there.
Elliott said, “we don’t have a financial goal, but at the moment we can only have a 110 people show up. So we would like to get 100 people there to support the event and expand from there and hopefully make this an annual thing, so that we can cut down on some of our smaller fundraisers so we can focus more on the big ones.” He also said, “being able to get people around our athletes and our program, is huge for our program because it allows the Virginia Wesleyan softball brand to get their name out their a little bit more.” Another thing that this ‘First Pitch Dinner’ will help the Virginia Wesleyan Softball team do is help the expense for a trip to Hawaii for spring break in 2020.
Junior outfielder Jessica Goldyn said, “The team is super excited to hear the Alabama head coach speak and the team loves any opportunity where they can dress up together. Also, our families get to come, so I know it’ll make a lot of players happy.” Junior infielder Juila Sinnett said, “We’re able to connect with our community through the sport that we love. We want to be able to share the passion we have for the game with the people at the dinner and show them how much we care.”