HONKEY TONK HOME RUNS

The 12th Annual City of Hope Celebrity Softball Challenge was a nail-biter. But when the big game was over, the softball superstars -- Vince Gill, Cyndi Thomson, Chris Cagle, Blake Shelton, Phil Vassar, Trick Pony and more -- had the crowd in stitches with their hilarious hijinks.

The exciting game matched two star-studded teams -- playing for Nashville radio stations WSM and WSIX -- in a five-inning contest, benefiting the City of Hope cancer research centers.

Vince knocked in the first runs for the WSM squad, then later huffed and puffed around the bases as he scored on a hit.

"Hey, Vince, you look tired!" kidded Blake.

"I ought to be," smiled Vince. "I'm old!"

But Vince felt lively enough to joke around at shortstop. As lovely Cyndi Thomson hit a weak line drive toward him, Vince generously let the ball drop from his glove, allowing Cyndi to reach first base.

While Phil Vassar, Lonestar's Dean Sams, Tommy Shane Steiner and Chalee Tennison showed off their softball skills, Andy Griggs showed a skill of a different kind -- dodging the mascot who chased him around the field! "He was wearing me out!" cried Andy good-naturedly.

The game came down to the final out. The WSIX squad was behind three runs but big hits by Trick Pony's Keith Burns and Heidi Newfield closed the gap to one.

With the bases loaded, it was all up to Steve Holy to drive in the game-winner. But there was no joy for his team. Mighty Steve popped out and the game ended 13-12 in favor of WSM.

The true winner was the City of Hope, which scored more than $200,000 for the organization. "I didn't get my home run today, but that's not the point," declared Lonestar's Dean. "We're happy to support a great cause."

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