By Dave Toelle, Kansas Wesleyan Sports Information Director
WICHITA, Kan. -- The Kansas Wesleyan University Baseball team has had a busy fall, involved in numerous charity events and on September 22, the day proved to be very special as it would touch many young people in the first ever League 42 Baseball Camp at McAdams Park in Wichita, Kan.
League 42 is a nonprofit recently established event to bring baseball to disadvantaged youths in the inner city. With the donations of equipment and numerous volunteers stepping up, the young campers were ready for their big day.
Plans are to begin league play next summer for age groups: 5-12, including t-ball.
Several Coyote baseball players and coaches joined in with players from Tabor College (Kan.) to make it a successful day as over 100 young boys and girls came to experience the game of baseball -- most for the first time in their lives. Coaches and former players from the Wichita area also volunteered in the camp.
League 42 was the brainchild of Bob Lutz of the Wichita Eagle who wanted to give back to the neighborhoods and felt baseball was a vanishing sport in the inner city where football and basketball are the main interests of those communities.
Lutz was thrilled as many young campers with the large attendance at McAdams Park.
“The camp...what can be said? The look on the campers’ faces told the story better than any words ever could, although someone needs to try,” Lutz said. “We will start up a league for the kids to play in next year and I am proud of what we have started and what it will grow into.”
The KWU players and coaches worked on different stations such as hitting, throwing and fielding. It was rewarding to the Coyote players as they realized the opportunity they have of playing college baseball is because someone took the time and showed them the game at a young age.
“It brought back memories of when we first started playing the game,” senior infielder Omar Sadaoui said. “Most of these kids have never been around baseball in their lives and we assisted in introducing the game to them today. They had fun and had a good time. I am glad we did the camp and look forward to seeing them learn more about this great game. Who knows how this can change their life in a positive way down the road?”
According to Coyote’s Head Coach Mark “Carv” Carvalho it was a win-win situation for the KWU players and the young campers.
“It is great to give back to those who are less fortunate and now they have the opportunity to experience the great game of baseball. This can give them an option that might lead to more chances to go to college and be successful,” Carvalho said.
“To see how these young boys and girls were enjoying the game meant a lot to our players and we look forward to having Kansas Wesleyan baseball contributing more to League 42 in the future,” added Carvalho. “We are very proud to be a part of this organization and feel it is a great chance to give back in a very positive and worthwhile manner.”