Local baseball teams set rivalry aside for good cause - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Local baseball teams set rivalry aside for good cause

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Tuesday night the Eau Claire North and Memorial baseball teams met for the first time this season.  But what's happening off the field is far more important. There was a focus on fundraising at Carson Park Tuesday.

For the third year in a row, the two baseball programs are coming together to raise money for a good cause.  Tuesday, there were donations being collected for the American Cancer Society through Coaches vs. Cancer.

It all started three years ago, shortly after North High School alum, Phil Isaakson was diagnosed with brain cancer. Isaakson was a standout pitcher and outfielder.  He was the Wisconsin Baseball Coaches Association State Player of the Year in 2007 and went on to pitch at the University of Minnesota

Eau Claire North Head Coach, Bob Johnson, says, "We always think about Phil and we're always there to support Phil and I think a night like this just reminds the players that athletics can be a powerful thing where people can come together for a good cause."

"I lost my father to cancer and everybody on this team has seen the effect of cancer and it's taken somebody that they love and so, again, it's a chance for us to give back towards something we can really take care of someday," says Eau Claire Memorial Head Coach, Dave Sparger.

Coach Johnson says he's been in touch with Phil and says he's taking the battle on a daily basis, with the same determination that made him such a successful player, as well as with a wonderful sense of humor.

Again, this is the third year they've set the rivalry aside for a good cause. The first year, the proceeds went to Phil's family. In the last two years, proceeds have gone to the American Cancer Society.

Two years ago, Culver's on West Folsom Street also raised thousands of dollars for Phil, who is a former Culver's employee.  

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