(WBIR-Knoxville) An annual baseball tournament in memory of a Knoxville man has doubled in size this year.
Chris Newsom and his girlfriend, Channon Christian, were tortured, raped, and murdered seven years ago. Since then, both families have found ways to honor their children.
The Chris Newsom Memorial Baseball Tournament took place last week and this weekend at five different baseball fields. The tournament saw its largest turnout in seven years.
"It kind of happened almost overnight. It just kind of exploded," said Mary Newsom, Chris' mother.
In total, the tournament hosted 124 teams; 84 of those teams were from this weekend.
"The support this year has been overwhelming. We were expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of about 70 teams, so we doubled that," said Todd Cook, president of Halls Community Park.
There are several reasons why it has become so popular but the Newsoms believe it's mostly because of Chris.
"This is not the only tournament that's going on. And the fact that the people in the area want to play in this tournament to honor Chris' name, that's what they tell us, and we accept that and it makes us feel good," said Hugh Newsom, Chris' father.
Money raised goes into a scholarship fund for students at Halls High School. The Newsoms awarded two Halls High School seniors scholarships this year, in Chris' name.
Chris played baseball for most of his life; a majority of the time he wore the number 14.
"When I see a kid up with number 14 on it, it brings back a lot of memories... some tears sometimes," Hugh said.
The Newsoms thanked Todd Cook, Robert Horward, and Danny Wallace for their work with the tournament this year.
The Chris Newsom Memorial Baseball Tournament has three gold sponsors: Champion Physical Therapy, Regal Cinemas, and Knox County Sheriff Jimmy "J.J." Jones.