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Baseball event honors GSU student
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    On January 17, 2013, Georgia Southern student Cory Wilson collapsed during class, later passing away due to a cardiac arrhythmia.
    Wilson is still greatly missed by friends and family, but a memorial baseball tournament started in his name last year is now raising money in hopes of preventing similar tragedies.
    A baseball fan and player since his childhood, Wilson’s memory now lives on in the ‘Fireball 40’, which begins today at L. Scott Stell Park in Savannah. Players of all ages will convene at the park for a two-day tournament.
    “Cory’s passing was tragic,” tournament director Mike Miller said. “As time went on, there was a growing group that really wanted to do something for his family.”
    The condolences and well-wishing eventually gave way into the Fireball 40, which raised over $20,000 last summer.
    With the proceeds from the event, Cory’s mother Lisa – a school nurse at White Bluff Elementary – wanted to get the word out to others about the dangers of sudden cardiac events and what can be done to help victims survive. Last year’s event allowed the Wilson family to provide five automated external defibrillators to local recreation sites, as well as a $10,000 memorial scholarship to be awarded to one of Cory’s Kappa Alpha fraternity brothers.
    “With whatever we can raise, Cory’s family really wants to keep the circumstances of his death in mind,” Miller said. “Lisa and (Wilson’s father) Kenny have continued to raise awareness of the importance of having AED’s on hand.”
    More donated AED’s and additional funding of the scholarship are the goals of this year’s tournament. So far, the event appears on track to surpass the inaugural tournament.
    As of Tuesday, 12 teams — an increase of two over last year — had already entered the tournament, with more potential teams forming. Players each pay a $30 entry fee and those coming to watch the games and show their support will pay $5 at the gate.
    While old friends and fraternity brothers made up a sizeable portion of the 2013 games, Wilson’s legacy is reaching even more people this time around.
    “We’ve had a lot of interest from some younger teams,” Miller said. “We’d love to have a separate division for kids 14 and under either this year or in the coming years.
    “I think that getting out on the field and playing is a good way to remember Cory. It’s also great that donations and generous sponsors are helping to raise awareness. I’m just proud that our community is willing to support a great family and their cause.”
    Games will begin at 6 p.m. this evening. After today’s pool play, new matchups will be drawn up for Saturday’s action.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.