Tulloch hosts fifth annual Celebrity Softball game

All proceeds of the Celebrity Softball game benefit the Stephen Tulloch Foundation and Operation 55.

Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Lions will hit the softball field Saturday afternoon to raise money for Detroit public schools.

The fifth annual Celebrity Softball game will take place at Ford Woods Park (19400 Ford Rd.), diamond No. 1, in Dearborn.

The event was started in 2010 by former Lion Derrick Williams and has continued to grow each year with the support of linebacker Stephen Tulloch.

Tulloch has been selected as the Lions’ nominee the past two years for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award, which honors off-the-field community service by players.

A home-run derby contest begins at 2 p.m. followed by the game, featuring Lions players and coaches, along with other local celebrities and media personalities.

I’m not losing this year, I promise you that.

Stephen Tulloch

Former Lions receiver Nate Burleson, who was one of the softball captains last year, is expected to make an appearance although he probably won’t play because of an injury.

The price of admission for the charity event is $10. Children under 5 are free.

Fans will have the opportunity to meet the players and win prizes.

All proceeds benefit the Stephen Tulloch Foundation and Operation 55, which was started by Tulloch to raise funds to adopt 55 schools around Detroit and improve educational programs, athletics and assist teachers with necessities in the classroom.

"I launched Operation 55 my first year here in Detroit," Tulloch said. "This year, we’re hoping to adopt 55 schools across Detroit so this game will allow us to help raise the funding to do that and help as many students and people as possible."

Tulloch said they are using the money to purchase "school supplies, computers, whatever the kids need."

The game pits Tulloch and the defensive players against center Dominic Raiola and the offensive players. The offense remains the favorite with two players — receivers Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate — who have hit home runs while taking batting practice at Comerica Park.

This is the first year that Raiola has been a captain.

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"Detroit is my home and I am really happy I can help out and make a difference here with Tulloch," he said.

For the Lions, it’s not only an opportunity to give back to the community, but also a chance for a little team bonding.

"I think it brings us together," Tulloch said.

Tulloch’s team has never won this game since he became a Lion in 2011.

"I’m tired of losing," he said. "I’m not losing this year, I promise you that."

If so, he better pull off a one-sided trade with Raiola for one of the offensive sluggers, or bring in some big-time ringers.

Gates open at 1 p.m.