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Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery + More Step Up to the Plate for City of Hope Softball Challenge

City of Hope
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Greer Stadium was the place to be Saturday morning (June 9) if you were in Nashville for the 2012 CMA Music Festival. Carrie Underwood, Scotty McCreery, Lauren Alaina, Vince Gill, Brantley Gilbert, David Nail, James Otto, RaeLynn, Chuck Wicks, Greg Bates, Whitney Duncan, the LoCash Cowboys and Bucky Covington were just a few of the stars on hand to play in the 22nd Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, which raised funds for cancer research.

The stars were divided among two teams — the reigning champs, team After MidNite, and the Grand Ole Opry team. While the rivalry started weeks ago when the roster was revealed, both teams were fighting for the same thing Saturday: to find a cure for cancer.

“The City of Hope is important, and this is just a little bit of our time that we can give to try and help out,” LoCash Cowboys’ Preston Brust told Taste of Country prior to the game. Brust and his duo partner, Chris Lucas, made sure they were at the game to help the cause for a second straight year, even though they had a show that evening all the way in Ohio.

“Catching a flight and getting to Ohio is really no big deal in the grand scheme of things when you’re looking at why we’re all here,” added Brust, who was the catcher on the After MidNite team. “Everybody is betting who is going to win between me and Chris, and there’s all the smack talk, but really, City of Hope wins no matter what, and that’s what it’s all about.”

Bucky Covington was beyond excited Saturday, seeing how he’s tried for years to play in the star-studded game, but scheduling conflicts always kept him from being involved. “Ever since I’ve been going to CMA Music Fest, I’ve always seen pictures of this, but have never been able to do it for some odd reason,” he told us at the stadium. “This is my first time coming out. One of the first things we lined up on my schedule this year was this event, and everything else was scheduled around it, that way I could be here.

From the get-go, James Otto had his strategy mapped out: to play hard and to not have to run that fast. “I’m a casual player,” he said with a smile upon his arrival. “It’s been a long time since I’ve played. I definitely have that competitive spirit, so we’ll see what happens.”

While there was a bump in the road, as David Nail was hospitalized for a play gone wrong, the charity game was all-in-all a positive experience. By the game’s end, both teams tied at 15-15, leaving a whole year to go to find out who will come out on top at next year’s event.

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