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Cruz Bay
Sunday, March 3, 2024


April 1, 2004 –– This weekend, St. John celebrates Ruby Rutnik's birthday with the 8th annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament, which raises funds for a scholarship created in her name.
The first pitch will be thrown at 3 p.m. Friday at the Winston Wells Ballfield next to Julius E. Sprauve School, with the tournament continuing Saturday and wrapping up on Sunday. The opening ceremony is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday.
While the event's stars are girls' high school teams from St. Thomas and St. Croix, it also includes evening games with local men's teams.
Antilles School, Good Hope School and an all-star team from Education Complex and Central High School have confirmed that they will participate. The schedule was not available on Thursday.
The event is named in honor of Ruby Rutnik, an Antilles School softball legend who died in a car crash in 1996 while attending American University in Washington, D.C. Her birthday is April 9.
The tournament raises scholarship money. Currently, each year two St. John girls heading off for college receive two-year scholarships worth $2,500 a year. For the first time last year, a girl from the winning team also received a scholarship.
Ruby Rutnik's father, Licensing and Consumer Affairs Commissioner Andrew Rutnik, said he hopes that this year the event will raise enough money to create a $100,000 fund. The scholarships will then come from the interest.
"So we can give $5,000 a year," Andrew Rutnik said.
So far, eight girls have received a total of $35,000 worth of scholarships.
The event raises money for the scholarship fund by selling innings at $100 a pop, games at $700 and T-shirts at $15 each.
The Love City Pan Dragons will raise money for their program by selling refreshments at the concession stand.
This year's tournament promises lots of excitement as the teams vie for top honors. Last year, only two games were played because the rest were rained out. Andrew Rutnik said that Antilles School squeaked by Good Hope School in one of the games.
"Good Hope is coming back for revenge," he said.
When the last umbrella went down after the two games, Good Hope was declared the winner.
Rain also called a halt to the final games in 2002.
To sponsor an inning or a game, or to make a donation, call the Rutniks at 693-8069, stop by Connections in Cruz Bay or Coral Bay, or mail a check made out to RRSF Inc. to PO Box 348, St. John VI 00831-0348.

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