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The CMA Music Festival’s June 8 kickoff event, the Lynnco Custom Cycles 16th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge, featured stirring play from stars like Jason Aldean, Chris Cagle, Blue County and others.

Jason, who played baseball in high school and college, made several expert plays in the infield, except that the first baseman, GAC host Storme Warren, kept dropping Jason’s throws. The Grand Ole Opry Live team, captained by Vince Gill, beat Jason’s After MidNite With Blair Garner squad, 8-7. After the game, the Opry team’s Keith Anderson cracked, “Our pre-game strategy of plugging holes in their bats worked.”

Chely Wright’s Reading, Writing & Rhythm benefit concert, June 6 at the Wildhorse Saloon, raised more than $100,000 for her foundation. “That’s a tribute to our great fans who just give and give every year,” said Chely. “And I always have great artist friends who help out.” Guests for this year’s benefit included Wynonna, Little Big Town and Bryan White.

The CMA Music Festival continues through June 11 in downtown Nashville.

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