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High school softball: South's Summer Bliss raises money for K9 Unit with each home run

Apr. 26—Summer Bliss' softball game is going to the dogs.

A junior catcher at South, Bliss is in the midst of a charity drive where she is donating $25 for every home run she hits to the Willoughby Police Dept. K9 Foundation that benefits police dogs.

Between the high school season last year and the travel ball season as a member of the Ohio Hurricanes, Bliss hammered 14 home runs. She presented the Willoughby Police Dept. with a check for $350 earlier this week.

"It's a good and worthwhile effort to give back to them and help protect our community," Bliss said. "Giving back and supporting the K9 unit is nice, and yeah, I love dogs."

Bliss presented officer Brandon Zinner and K9 officer Rex with the check and posed for pictures with the four-legged officer before heading home to spend time with her two K9 friends, Meatball (a pitbull) and Stark (a black lab).

Bliss said her efforts to raise money for the K9 foundation will continue during the current high school season and through summer ball for the foreseeable future. She nearly added $50 to her efforts in an April 24 game against North, but two opposite field shots caromed off the right-field fence rather than going over for a home run.

She said her charity efforts have not and won't change her swing.

"When I am up to bat, I just want to put the bat on the ball," she said. "If a home run happens, it happens. That means I'm helping my team. But I'm not going up there just trying to hit home runs."

Rusty Bliss beams with pride over his daughter's contributions, even though the money comes out of his pocket. He said he has "no problem" supporting his daughter's ambitions to help the Willoughby Police Dept. K9 Unit by cutting the checks — even if he might hear a cash register ringing every time his daughter swings.

"I'm so proud of her that she does this," Rusty Bliss said. "I don't have a problem writing the check for something like that. It means a lot to her. It means a lot to us.

"We love those dogs. They do great things. The job they do is great, but it breaks your heart when you hear of them doing their job and making the ultimate sacrifice (by dying in the line of duty). So this endeavor is important to us."