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Arizona Diamondbacks baseball

D'backs, Dodgers honor Jan. 8 victims

D'backs 6, Dodgers 3

In front of a sellout crowd at Kino Stadium, Diamondbacks infielder Ryan Roberts had one person on his mind: his one-year-old daughter Hudsyn.

Friday's spring training game was held in honor of the victims of the Jan. 8 mass shooting, including nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. All proceeds went toward the Tucson Together Fund, which raises money for the victims' families.

The Diamondbacks defeated the Dodgers, 6-3.

"Because I have a daughter of my own, this (charity event) was very touching to me," Roberts said. "Just the thought of losing my daughter—I mean, I can't even imagine what it would be like to live without her."

Hudsyn will turn two years old in August.

"This hit close to home, so it was great playing out there today," Roberts said. "It was awesome playing for this cause, and being able to give back something in a positive way and bring joy to these fans after such a tragedy."

Roberts currently leads the big leagues in spring training statistics in batting average, walks and on-base percentage. He ranks second in the hits category. The 30-year-old went 2-for-4 in Friday's game.

Roberts wasn't the only Diamondback affected during the benefit game.

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"I got a bit emotional out there," outfielder Chris Young said. "Seeing all of the families in the stands—I mean, it definitely hit me in the dugout."

One of the families in the sold out crowd was the Ricker family. Vikki Ricker, a long-time spring training season ticket holder, came out to support the cause with four family members, including her four-year-old granddaughter Violet.

"When spring training was in Tucson, I was one of those baseball fans who waited in the parking lot at 3 a.m. for season tickets to go on sale," Ricker said. "I still remember being there at the very first Diamondbacks game in 1998."

Ricker collects baseball memorabilia, with her favorite being a signed baseball bat by the entire 2001 World Series-winning Diamondbacks team.

But although Ricker is such an avid baseball fan, she came to Friday's game for more than that.

"I wanted to come out and support the community for this cause," she said. "Christina's death really hit close to home. It's so tragic to have such a young life taken so soon."

On the day of the shooting, Ricker said her daughter Jessica had sat all of her kids down to fully explain what happened and encouraged them to share their feelings.

"(My three grandkids) were all very upset by the shooting," Ricker said. "They are very emotional kids, and it was clear they were affected."

The Ricker family visited the victims' memorial sites for support.

Another parent-child pairing at the stadium was father-son duo Ed Payan and his son Jimmy, 8, who both watched the game from the last row of the upper deck and celebrated the rare opportunity to watch a spring training game in Tucson.

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"One of the reasons we moved from San Diego to Tucson was because spring training was here, so we were really bummed when they moved to Scottsdale," Ed said. "So any chance we get, we're going to come out and show that spring training belongs in Tucson."

"As a father, it was important for me to come here with my son – my only child – to support this cause. The loss of Christina affects so many families on a personal level."

A No. 12 jersey was retired in honor of Green on the outfield wall at Kino Stadium. She was an avid Little League player.

Her father, John Green, is a scout for the Dodgers. Her grandfather, Dallas Green, is a former major-league pitcher and manager, who helmed the Philadelphia Phillies as they won the 1980 World Series.

The spring training matchup was the second benefit game in Tucson for the shooting.

"This game was a great way to bring people together," Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton said. "I can't possibly imagine how these families feel and how hard of a situation that it is to go through. It really makes the trip (down to Tucson) worth it."

Six, including Christina-Taylor Green, were killed and 13 wounded in the Jan. * attack, in what authorities charge was an assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords was moved to a Houston rehab facility two weeks after being wounded. Doctors have said her recovery is "remarkable."

Earlier this month, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was charged with 49 counts in the mass shooting at a constituent meet and greet. Not guilty pleas were entered on his behalf by the court.

Fourteen of the charges Loughner faces could result in the death penalty, if the prosecution seeks it. No decision of whether to ask for capital punishment has been made, authorities have said.

Loughner was moved Wednesday from the Tucson prison where he has been held to a federal facility in Springfield, Mo., where he will undergo a compentency examination.

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Kim Hartman/TucsonSentinel.com

A sellout crowd at Kino Stadium on Friday came to honor the families of Jan. 8 shooting victims.