Former Pittsburgh Pirate Fred Cambria, 65, signs autographs for fans...

Former Pittsburgh Pirate Fred Cambria, 65, signs autographs for fans Timothy Darress, 10, and John Melville, 11, both of Ronkonkoma, at the celebrity softball game in Ronkonkoma. (Aug. 11, 2013) Credit: Ursula Moore

Linda Ruth Tosetti understands firsthand the importance of cancer awareness.

The 58-year-old Durham, Conn., resident is a kidney cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 2004.

As Babe Ruth’s granddaughter, Tosetti also knows a thing or two about baseball, which she proved as she threw the first pitch Sunday at the first celebrity softball game hosted by the Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce.

“I am very happy to be here. It’s wonderful to raise money for breast cancer and to see so many people having a great time,” Ruth Tosetti said. “I am like my grandfather. He loved to give back to the community. It’s in my DNA.”

The event, held at the Connetquot Youth Association Charles LaRosa Sports Complex, raised about $1,000 for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.

With Montell Jordan’s "This Is How We Do It” blaring in the background, the celebrity "Stars" played on a team against the "Lakers," made up of Ronkonkoma business owners. The celebrity lineup included former Montreal Expos pitcher Don DeMola, former Yankee Frank Tepedino, celebrity DJ and chef Marc Weiss from the Food Network, former American Idol contestant Robbie Rosen, and Howard Stern Show comedians Jerry Castaldo and Stacey Prussman.

The Lakers included World Gym Fitness president Tom Newman; Jim Cotgreave, of Cotgreave Insurance Agency; and politicians Suffolk County Legis. Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) and former Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy.

The idea for the celebrity softball game originated from Ronkonkoma resident Mick Du Russel, 56. After visiting a celebrity game in the Hamptons, he suggested it to a Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce board member.

“I am an entertainment writer so I meet celebrities all the time,” said Du Russel, who writes for “Celebrities are great about supporting a worthy cause.”

Ronkonkoma Chamber of Commerce President Denise Schwarz said she was enthusiastic to watch the celebrities play.

“We have celebrities from all walks of life here – singers, baseball players, comedians, authors. It’s great,” she said.

Ronkonkoma chamber member and past president Matt Miller, 52, played first base for the Lakers and said he loved every minute of it. After about 5 hours of playing time and nine innings, the Lakers beat the Stars, 14-13.

“This is a lot of fun,” Miller said. “The best part is that we are raising money for such a great cause – breast cancer.”

Former Pittsburgh Pirate Fred Cambria, 65, of Northport, said he was happy to serve as first baseman.

“I wanted to come out today and show my support,” he said. “This is fun to come and play softball on such a beautiful day and raise money for breast cancer.”

Dawn Tropeano, American Cancer Society director of special events and a Ronkonkoma resident, said she was thankful for the support from the celebrities and Ronkonkoma community.

“I am a breast cancer survivor,” she said. “I was diagnosed at 38 years old. I am living proof that the American Cancer Society can make a huge difference in a person’s life.”


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