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Portage Central to host another #SophieStrong game to honor life, impact of former player Sophie Varney

By: MATTHEW B. MOWERY, April 29, 2021, 11:52 pm

They honored her for fighting the fight of her life against an inoperable brain tumor with a game in her honor in mid-May of her freshman year.

Now, six months after her passing, the Portage Central Mustangs are celebrating the impact of Sophie Varney’s life with another #SophieStrong game.

Portage Central will host Parchment in an 11 a.m. softball doubleheader on Saturday, May 1, with a small ceremony in between games. It’s a part of the program’s commitment to raising money for the Chad Tough Foundation, which is dedicated to fighting DIPG — Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma — the rare pediatric brain tumor that claimed the lives of both Varney, and Chad Carr, the foundation’s namesake. 

“We will be celebrating her life and the impact she has made on our program and community,” Portage Central coach Lisa Kiino said. “We are hoping to continue for Sophie in raising awareness and funds to fight the disease.”

Varney passed away on Dec. 20, 2020, at just 16 years old, from pneumonia associated with her underlying issues brought on by DIPG. 

The first #SophieStrong game came on May 14, 2019, when Varney was surprised by her team and coaching staff, elevated to the varsity team for the remainder of that season, earning her first career varsity start in the second game of a doubleheader. That day, she reached base in all three plate appearances, scoring twice and collecting her first career hit.