April 2012

Back in the swing

by David Rhode

Opening Day is special everywhere.  But at least this year, maybe more so in the country of Japan.  On March 11, 2011 just a little over 1 year ago, a massive earthquake and tsunami struck this passionate baseball nation.

With the financial support of the Major League Baseball Players Trust, Pitch In For Baseball had the privilege of providing equipment to 40 school based and Little League programs.

Well as you can see from the pictures below, baseball in Japan is back as youth leagues participated in the annual right of spring known everywhere as Opening Day.  The pagentry of their ceremonies shows the respect they have for the game.  The joy and concentration on the faces of the kids is universal.

ImageImageImageImage

Meet Spike

by David Rhode

One of the most memorable people and memorable stories from our trip to Henryville, Indiana was the chance to meet a young boy who as you can see is best known to his friends as “Spike”.

10 year old Colin and his family lost their home in the EF4 tornado that struck their community on March 2nd.  Although his family is doing well, everyone in the family was injured that day, but the quick-thinking Spike.  Why you might ask.  Well he put on his batting helmet and that helped him weather the dramatic events of the day.

If you want to meet Spike and some of the other members of the Henryville Youth Baseball Association who were imacted by our recent equipment donation, just check out our video below.

Opening Day

by David Rhode

Opening Day in any youth league is a time of anticipation, fun, chaos and occasionally some baseball mixed in.  However for the community of Henryville, Indiana, the 2012 Opening Day ceremonies were a time of particular significance.  You see in this day and age of short attention spans the name Henryville, Indiana may not mean much to most people.  Therefore, let me take you back just 6 weeks to when this community was devastated by an EF4 tornado on March 2nd.

So for Henryville the idea that on April 14 they’d be gathering with smiles on their faces to kick off their baseball season would have seemed impossible.  Pitch In For Baseball, Louisville Slugger and countless other caring individuals provided equipment, financial support and manpower to help them get back on their feet.

I had the privilege along with fellow Pitch In For Baseball Board Member, John Yengo, of attending their Opening Day this past Saturday.  The kids were great.  We met “Spike” and “Big Poppi” and coaches and league administrators who through their efforts were able to give kids the chance to play ball.  The sentiments we heard echoed time and again on Saturday was how important it was to give both the kids and the community something that resembled normalcy even when things around them were anything but that.

With massive construction going on down the street at the school, Henryville is still a work in progress.  However if the spirit exhibited Saturday is any indication, I think there are many good days ahead.

For more pictures from Henryville’s Opening Day, visit the Pitch In For Baseball Facebook page. www.facebook.com/#!/PitchInForBaseball

Some brotherly love

by Tom Schoenfelder

During skype calls to Hungary and Mongolia, I never refer to Pitch In For Baseball as a Harleysville based organization.  Before taking the job at Pitch In For Baseball, Harleysville might as well have been Hungary or Mongolia.  Instead I tell applicants that we are located in Philadelphia.  While our physical location may not be there, our presence is surely in Philadelphia.  In late February I spoke for a minute at an Athletic Directors meeting and the response to hearing about PIFB was overwhelming.  With budget cuts looming, coaches from over twenty high school and middle school teams in the city requested the aide of Pitch In For Baseball.

Some teams looked to supplement what little they had, while others had nothing.  Between paying a coach and the transportation of the team, there is little money left for the equipment needed to play.  For a few teams it is their inaugural year and they are filled with a team of players who have never played before and no equipment for them to use.  While handing over the equipment has become quite ordinary due to amount of times I have done it, seeing the excitement on the faces of the coaches never gets old.

2012 Donation Stats (through April 5th)

  • 70 Programs
  • 9,029 total pieces of equipment
  • 852 gloves
  • 117 catcher sets
  • 3,816 baseballs
  • 608 helmets
  • 559 bats
  • 1,242 pants
  • 732 jerseys
  • 588 softballs
  • 21 sets of bases