Portage and Valparaiso Baseball Teams Come Together to ‘Bat’ Out Cancer

Portage and Valparaiso Baseball Teams Come Together to ‘Bat’ Out Cancer
By: Taylor Irby Last Updated: May 17, 2017

Something was slightly off about the Portage Vs. Valparaiso baseball game on Tuesday. The Indians wore baby blue instead of their normal red and the Vikings wore jerseys with pink lettering. These little differences all added up to a great cause...

Portage and Valparaiso teamed up to raise funds for Coaches Vs. Cancer. Valparaiso wore pink for breast cancer awareness and to support anyone facing cancer. Portage wore blue to represent prostate cancer which really hit home for Portage Coach, Bob Dixon.

“This event is near and dear to my heart because I had prostate cancer. I’m a survivor,” Dixon said.

Coach Dixon then began to discuss Tom Levandoski, who was a coach for Portage Baseball for many years, “We’ve been thinking about him a lot," Dixon began,  "Because he was the head coach of Portage baseball for such a long time and he’s going through a battle with cancer.”

Levandoski is married to Valparaiso’s Athletic Trainer, Kathy Levandoski, so both teams have Levandoski in their thoughts.

Todd Evans, Head Coach for Valparaiso, described the importance of this game for both teams, “When Levandoski was recently diagnosed, it really hit home for us.”

Evans explained that Coaches Vs. Cancer is exactly the kind of thing Portage and Valparaiso schools like to be involved in, “Valpo and Portage have a commitment to trying to do things for the community and this is one way we can give back,” he said. “Our program likes to find ways to have a positive impact on our community.”

Both teams were fully behind this cause and understood its importance to the community for both teams to come together on these issues. 

“It’s a way for two communities like Portage and Valparaiso to come together in a way besides competition. It’s a community of people who have a common bond who want to come up with a cure for cancer. That’s the great thing about this. The community that is willing to stand for one cause,” said Dixon.

Dixon also added that he believes the event had a great impact on his players and their moral, “It’s a good way for the boys to see what it’s like to do something for somebody else. Even if it’s a donation or a prayer or a thought for that individual or a phone call, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

Shayne Devine, a Portage player, agreed with Dixon's comments, noting that small events like this add up to larger happenings in the world of cancer research.  “I think it’s a great cause, a lot of people don’t know about the effect that small events like these can have on finding cures. It’s a great thing to do. I’m excited to help support finding a cure,” said Devine. 

This sentiment was shared by both teams. In the next dugout over Ray Kreloff, a pitcher for Valparaiso, said: “Since Portage wore blue tonight when they’re usually red, and we wore our jerseys, hopefully, people were made aware of what we were trying to do and got involved by donating.”

The community and both coaches put all their effort into finding a cure for cancer and raising awareness. They worked together in an inspiring way and had fun.

“If there was any way we could support Portage, we should make our best effort to do so,” Evans said.

Dixon was happy to be apart of the game and joked “Instead of battling on the field, we’re battling cancer.”

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