Nicholl Park prepped for Soulful Softball Sunday

Nicholl Park prepped for Soulful Softball Sunday
Soulful Softball Sunday is set for Aug. 25, 2019 at Nicholl Park in Richmond. (Photo by Mike Kinney)

A full day of soul food, entertainment, community bonding, resources, and — of course — softball.

The highly anticipated, annual Soulful Softball Sunday is set for this Sunday, Aug. 25, at Nicholl Park, 3320 Macdonald Ave. in Richmond.

Soulful Softball Sunday gathers community volunteers to beautify Nicholl Park. This year, that included members of local painters unions who practically repainted the whole park.

The free grassroots gathering launched by community advocates Rodney Alamo Brown and Antwon Cloird will kick off Sunday at 9 a.m. with church in the park, according to the Soulful Softball Sunday Facebook group.

From there, it will feature free food, live music, resources (i.e. employment and criminal expungement opportunities), vendors, a community softball game, and also the California Softball Classic, a friendly rivalry between the L.A. All Stars and the Richmond Elite.

The community game will begin at 10:50 a.m., at which point food will be served and folks will mingle until 1 p.m., when a lengthy slate of community members will be recognized, including local students who have earned Soulful Softball Sunday scholarships.

Local icons such as National Park Service Ranger Betty Reid Soskin and the late community advocate Duane Chapman will be honored for outstanding community service at this year’s event. Nipsey Hussle, the recently slain rapper, entrepreneur and community activist, as well as Elijah “Pumpsie” Green, the recently passed Richmond native who was the first black player in Boston Red Sox history, are also among those who will be acknowledged. Other notable community advocates will receive Community Honorees Awards.

At 2 p.m., Pumpsie’s daughter, Keisha Green Joyner, along with Eric EQ Young of the famous former R&B and funk band Con Funk Shun, are set to throw the first pitch.

After the community game and during each inning of the Softball Classic, prizes will be raffled off to the public, with each attendee receiving two tickets upon arrival (must be present to win).

At 4:30 p.m., Soulful Softball Sunday will hold its backpack giveaway.

Soulful Softball Sunday doesn’t just go out of its way to honor community members, but the community itself. Leading up to the event, volunteers from the group conducted their annual beautification project at the park, getting help from local union painters.