For the love of the game! The Dylan K Crunick Memorial Tournament has record year
Aug 16, 2022

Photo by Elizabeth Lingenfelter

By Kenny Varner

BELLEFONTE – For the love of Dylan!

This year marks the 6th Annual Dylan K Crunick Memorial Baseball Tournament.

More than 31 teams from all over Central Pennsylvania and New York occupied more than six fields over the weekend in remembrance of local Bellefonte baseball player Dylan Crunick who passed away after a courageous battle with cancer at the young age of 15.

Photo by Elizabeth Lingenfelter From left to right – Lock Haven University’s Brandon Lingenfelter and brother Matthew Lingenfelter share a special moment with DC8 founder Kristen Crunick.

“It’s pretty amazing to have 31 teams this year. Players ages range from 8 to 28,” said Kristen Crunick, Dylan’s mother. “ Last night we had a get together at the Axeman. It was the first time we ever brought everyone all together in a casual setting.”

Each year, the organizers of the DC8 fund have seen the tournament grow by leaps and bounds.

This season is yet another record year for teams as baseball players from little league age to ages 18 and over take to the baseball diamond to have fun and play for a great cause.

These team’s have no numbers just shirts that have Dylan’s memory on the back as they play in his honor and memory.

The tournament has been spearheaded by the tireless dedication of Larry and Cindy Horner, who have been involved from the beginning.

The money raised by the tournament went to the the DC8 fund which was created in Dylan’s memory.

“We started the DC8 fund shortly after Dylan passed. He died from a rare childhood type cancer known as  Rhabdomyosarcoma. When we were going through this we realized how little research and how little monies from like the American Cancer Society go to childhood cancer,” said Crunick. “There is so much work to be done in that aspect of cancer research.”

“There are three things that we do with the DC8 fund. The first is to raise awareness of childhood cancer.”

The group also helps their local communities as well.

“Secondly, we help other families that are going through the same situation that we went through. When it first started we lived here in Bellefonte and we kept it local, Like local families who need the support,” ” added Crunick. “Since we have moved to upstate New York, we also do it there in our community as well. So we’ve been able to help quite few kids with various things such as gas cards for driving to treatments, or toys for Christmas, or money that they just desperately need because they can’t work the way that they need to work to support their family.”

After his death, his memory was kept in the forefront by teammates, coaches, friends and family members.

Each year, the Bellefonte Little League nominates stand out players from each team and one athlete is voted as the Dylan Crunick Award winner.

“I think this is absolutely an amazing thing that the small town of Bellefonte has done for our family and continues to do for Dylan. I feel that God put us here for a reason with these wonderful people and they continue to keep Dylan’s memory alive,” said Crunick. “We could not ask anything more from them as they have just been so wonderful to us.”

The DC8 fund also gives out scholarships for athletes.

“The third thing we do is hand out scholarships at Bellefonte high school. Sometimes it’s one, sometimes it’s seven, sometimes it’s six,  it’s whatever touches our hearts when they submit their applications and their essay,” said Crunick. “I think at this point we’ve given out approximately $14,000.00 in scholarships to graduating seniors.

His love for baseball was unmatched as well as his personality on and off the field.

To me to look at that get together at (Axeman) I think it’s a little piece of Dylan that all these kids carry with them. They carry it with them onto the baseball field and they carry it with them out into their lives,” said Crunick. “I hope all of them take a piece of him with them and think about him and remember him. I know the older kids do but the younger ones might not have known him. But they’ll know him because of this. They’ll know what he stood for.

“I know that’s what he would have wanted. He loved baseball and he loved life itself and he loved his friends and he loved just being a kid. I feel like that’s what this is right here. It’s not about who wins or loses. It’s just about going out and having fun. It’s about having fun playing on a gorgeous August day. I know that’s what he would want.”

Ironically, in all six years of the tournaments existence, not one game was rained out.

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