SAN DIEGO - Hundreds of young athletes participated in the "Home Run For Chelsea" tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Community Park on Sunday to raise money for the Chelsea's Light Foundation.
The foundation was established in honor of slain Poway teen Chelsea King and aims to provide legislative and educational measures to protect children from sexual predators.
For the first time on Sunday, Chelsea's family returned to the park where their daughter was taken from them.
"The last time I was at this park was the absolute worst day of my life," said Chelsea's father, Brent King, as he stood up on the stage with his wife Kelly and their son Tyler.
However, he said that he and his family decided to come back for a very good reason.
"It allows us to say this is ours," he said. "We own it. We own it. You can't affect us. We can affect you, and we're going to affect you by writing laws that are going to put you away forever."
Supporting that effort is the reason the young baseball players turned out. Hundreds from San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties converged on the park to hit a home run for Chelsea. Hundreds of others are playing at schools around the county.
Proceeds from the daylong baseball tournament go to benefit the Chelsea's Light Foundation.
"It's overwhelming," said Brent King. "It's overwhelming to see how much fun they're having and they know they're doing it for a reason."
Baseball player Trevor Reh said, "It was a tragedy what happened but we kept on remembering her name and we kept on remembering her soul."
That soul was ripped from the King family in late February of 2010. John Gardner raped and murdered Chelsea as she jogged along a trail above Rancho Bernardo Community Park. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It is hard to imagine what it is like for the Kings to come back to the park.
"It's very difficult, but it's also very beautiful to be able to be back here and appreciate the park for the beauty that it has and it's exactly what drew Chelsea here ... and that's why we're able to come back here," said Kelly King.
This is the fourth year for the "Home Run for Chelsea" tournament. Organizers say over the last three years it has raised more than $100,000 for the Chelsea's Light Foundation.
In 2011, California passed "Chelsea's Law," which provides a one-strike, life-without-parole sentence for adult offenders who violently sexually assault a child.
Texas is poised to become the second state to pass Chelsea's Law. It has already passed in their Assembly unanimously and it is now headed to the Senate where it is expected to pass easily as well.
Then, the Kings say things are looking good for passage of the law in Illinois and Ohio.
The eventual goal is to get it passed in all 50 states.