Little Silver's annual one-pitch tournament is always a bittersweet affair.
On the one hand, it's an opportunity to catch up with old friends and enjoy the still-warm early fall weather.
But on the other, the event -- which features abbreviated men's softball games -- is also a vehicle to rally around a family in town that has hit a snag in life.
This year's tournament honored Jon Bitman, who lost his battle with pancreatic cancer on Sept. 4 and was one of Little Silver's biggest softball enthusiasts and was known as "Hitman" among pals.
"Make no mistake though, Jon is here," said Mayor Robert C. Neff, Jr. at the outset. "Jon will always be here in Little Silver whenever someone offers a helping hand."
The were 50/50 raffles, face and nail painting and a silent and live auction geared toward raising funds. The live portion, deftly run by board of education member Chris Smith, raised over $5,000 for just five items (including Knicks and Giants tickets with assorted perks).
The one-pitch was spearheaded by Doug Glassmacher, Peter Roskowinski and John Pouso and featured live music by locals Rick Dill, Rich Scott and Sue Haugenes.
Neff observed, "Today, when you hear someone make a completely inappropriate, possibly offensive -- but truly hilarious -- remark, that was Jon. He's here."