The first pitch of the Long Ball Program youth league will be thrown at 6 p.m. Monday at Durham Athletic Park.
The league, part of a Minor League Baseball pilot program, fields teams for ages 13-18 and welcomes sponsors and donors.
"The teams have been practicing hard and can’t wait until it is their turn to take the field," organizer Pat Nobles said.
The league is free for the players but is a lot of hard work for the coaches, who scramble to find donations for everything from uniforms and snacks to dirt for the infield.
Nobles said she is trying to find funding for infield mix to upgrade the field at Shepard Middle School for practices, clinics and rainouts at Durham Athletic Park. A truckload costs $349, she said, and sponsorship for one more load is needed. Nobles and her fiancee paid for one load, and Duke's Office of Durham and Regional Affairs paid for another. To help, contact Nobles at 919-638-7066.
One other need for the league is spectator support. Nobles has even written a letter for parents to distribute at their churches to ask people to turn out at the DAP.
"My goal is to pack that stadium every time these kids take the field," said.
Spectator admission Monday will be free, and visitors can buy raffle tickets for car. A DJ will provide entertainment, a Minor League Charities representative will speak and Chevy Youth Baseball will present a check to the league, Nobles said.
The Scrappers will take on the Diamond Jaxx in the first game, and the Owlz meet the Volcanoes in the second game. In case of rain, the games will moved to May 18 starting at 6 p.m.
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