Hundreds show up at charity game to help Thousand Oaks shooting victims' families

SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- Hundreds of people took to the ball fields at Santa Susana Park in Simi Valley to show their support for the victims of the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks.

"We're here to make a statement that we're strong - we're 805 strong," Amanda Pappacodo said. "We're all affected. We've all gone to Borderline. It's a time to come out here to play with family. It's a charity tournament - we're not here to win. We're here to have fun and celebrate life and just be with each other."

Players in the co-ed tournament ranged from amateur to professional.

"It's awesome with this small group. You grab your ball. You grab your glove and grab your bat. You go out and sweat all day for people who just don't have the opportunity to do so. It's about community - that's what you take home," Dallas Braden said.

The former Oakland A's pitcher is now part of the Simi Valley community. He said supporting his neighbors is especially important this time of year.

"This is, you know, the holiday season. Family, friends, the idea of being together, the idea of putting differences aside to come together as a family, as a community.

"But when you don't have the freedom, where you don't have the luxury or the resources because of tragedy, you inherently look to your right, look to your left and around here what's awesome is every time you turn your head there's somebody with open arms ready to bring you onboard, whatever you need," he said.

The turnout was much bigger than organizers expected - more than 200 people played on 18 different teams.

Lifelong baseball player Danny Potter started organizing the event immediately after the mass shooting on Nov. 7, when a gunman opened fire at the bar and killed 12 people.

All of the money raised Saturday went to the victims' families.

"I just felt right. It was just something inside of me said, 'Hey, you know what? I think you need to help some people out' so we do," Potter said.
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