AGAWAM – A fun night of candlepin bowling in Agawam this Saturday aims to raise money for Westfield Babe Ruth.
The Seventh Annual Matty Osienski Memorial Bowling Tournament is taking place on July 27 at Agawam Bowl, 359 Walnut St. Ext. Doors open at 4 p.m., with bowling starting at 5 p.m.
The tournament is for recreational and league bowlers, with prizes for high scores, raffle prizes (including Red Sox tickets), music, free pizza, BYOB, and tons of fun. Non-bowlers are welcome as well. There is a $20 cover charge for bowlers, $10 for non-bowlers, with all donations and proceeds going to the Westfield Babe Ruth.
Tickets are available at the door. Raffle tickets are also available to purchase in advance, and anyone who wants to donate may reach out to event organizer Thomas Naro at [email protected]
“Let us know if you intend to come, but walk-ins are welcome,” Naro said.
The event is in memory of Matthew Osienski, who grew up in Westfield, and died following a car accident here in 2012. Naro, a physical therapist in Southwick who is from the same Westfield neighborhood where he grew up playing baseball with Osienski, said it is fitting to have all the proceeds go towards the Westfield Babe Ruth.
“It’s a nice tribute to him,” said Naro. “We had a lot of good memories.”
Naro said he played street ball with Osienski, went through Babe Ruth (where Osienski was a three-time All Star) and Little League with him, and ended up being on the high school team as the practice catcher, on the receiving end of Osienski’s pitches. Naro and Osienski graduated Westfield High School in 2001.
Naro said Osienski had a good fast ball and curve ball, but his favorite to catch was his knuckleball, because, he said, “No one knew where it was going to go. To me, it was a lot of fun having that time with him, catching pitches.”
Naro wasn’t in the area for the first few years of the tournament, but took over the reins after he returned. This will be his third year running it.
“We do it to remember Matt. If you knew him, he was a friend to everybody, a free-spirited person. It wasn’t just the baseball team. Everybody loved him,” Naro said, adding, “We all feel good contributing in his memory.”
For the bowling aspect of the fundraiser, there will be eight trophies in total, with first place for a number of men’s and women’s divisions.
There will be two raffles. The blue raffle, at $10 per ticket, is for the Grand Prize of four State Street Pavilion tickets to Red Sox vs. Orioles at Fenway Park on Friday, Aug. 16, plus Parking Pass (Ipswich Street Garage), courtesy of Mestek, Inc.
The red raffle tickets, which cost $10 for 10 tickets, are for many prizes donated by area businesses and individuals, along with select New England Sports Autographed items; a Tom Brady Jersey, Ray Bourque photograph and Dustin Pedroia photograph among them.
Over the last two years, the event raised $620 in 2017 and $1,020 in 2018 for Westfield Little League, so this year they chose Westfield Babe Ruth, Naro said.
“It’s just great to be able to give something. Everyone walks away really happy,” he added.