The Blue Ribbon-Panel, including 1997 World Series Champion and MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd and Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch, awarded three in-need communities with field refurbishments
The Scotts Company LLC (Scotts) and Major League Baseball today awarded three communities from across the United States with $50,000 grants for refurbishing youth baseball and softball fields as part of the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program. This year’s three winning organizations are: the Bay Oaks Little League Field (Fort Myers Beach, Florida), the Oak Hill Recreation League (Oak Hill, Ohio), and the Wellpinit Boys & Girls Club (Wellpinit, Washington).
In its eighth year, the Scotts Field Refurbishment Program received over 600 grant applications from organizations in 47 states. The three winning organizations were then chosen by a special blue-ribbon panel, which included leadership from Scotts and MLB, World Series Champion and MLB Network analyst Cliff Floyd and Olympic Gold Medalist Jennie Finch. Once this year’s projects are completed, the Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program will have renovated 38 fields in 20 states, investing more than $2 million into the renovation of community fields. This program is part of Scotts’ Gro More Good initiative to improve children’s health and well-being through increased connection to greenspaces.
“The Scotts® Field Refurbishment Program helps communities in need to create a safe and welcoming space for young baseball and softball players to develop their skills, foster their love for the game and most importantly, encourage them to play outside,” said Ashley Bachmann, Vice President, Lawns Marketing, Scotts Miracle-Gro. “Scotts is proud to continue creating greenspaces that have a positive impact on young athletes, their families and the generations to come.”
“Baseball and softball fields can be the heart of a community – a place to gather and connect and for kids to learn and grow,” said Jennie Finch, Blue Ribbon Panelist and Olympic Gold Medalist. “I’m so honored to be part of the Scotts & MLB Blue Ribbon program providing grants to communities in need, so they can refurbish their fields and create spaces for communities to gather and be proud of.”
Scotts is also an official partner of Major League Baseball’s PLAY BALL initiative, the sport’s largest collective effort to encourage young people and communities to participate in baseball or softball-related activities, including formal leagues, events and recreational forms of play.
“Major League Baseball is committed to providing the resources needed to develop greenspaces that positively impact local communities and we are proud to provide beautiful yet safe fields that encourage kids to play the sports they love,” said April Brown, MLB Senior Vice President, Social Responsibility & Community Affairs. “Our continued partnership with Scotts has allowed us to touch the lives of so many. We’re able to help encourage communities to get outside and play ball, which in turn has a positive impact on the health and wellness of the kids and their families.”
To view a recap of The Scotts Field Refurbishment Program’s latest work, visit https://www.mlb.com/sponsorship/scotts-field-refurbishment-program.
More information about the winning organizations can be found below:
The Bay Oaks Little League Field – Fort Myers Beach, FL
The Bay Oaks Recreational Campus encompasses 15 acres in the Town of Fort Myers Beach, FL, including fields for young baseball and softball players. The Bay Oaks Little League provides children in grades K-5th an environment to learn and develop skills needed on and off the field like sportsmanship and camaraderie. Unfortunately, due to damages from Hurricane Ian, the 2023 season was canceled and many of the youth must travel to surrounding towns to participate in other programs.
“Getting this ballfield up and running will really build up morale within our community,” said Jeff Hauge, Interim Director of Cultural, Parks and Recreation of the Town of Fort Myers Beach. “We are excited to receive this grant and continue to move forward in restoring Fort Myers Beach back to normalcy after the devastation of the hurricane.”
Emergency management used the fields to stage debris quickly and efficiently for months after the storm, further damaging the conditions of the fields. The goal with this grant is to provide a renewed safe haven for young athletes to call home next season.
The Oak Hill Recreation League – Oak Hill, OH
The Oak Hill Recreation League (OHRL) is designed to provide the community access to local sports and youth activities for children in grades K-8th. As one of many pockets of the Appalachian region in Ohio, Oak Hill residents have suffered from the opioid crisis and increased poverty, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. Between weather damage and a lack of resources, use of the league’s T-Ball field where children first learn the game, and overall community participation, diminished.
“We have a very close, tight knit community that continues to serve the needs at large,” said Corey Ruby, President of The Oak Hill Recreation League. “We are very appreciative of this opportunity and are excited to see how Scotts and Major League Baseball will help transform our community field.”
The refurbished field from this grant will provide the community with opportunities to host more games and increase awareness and youth interest in diamond sports. This refurbishment will also allow for the league school to host post-season tournaments that can increase community visibility and excitement.
The Wellpinit Boys & Girls Club – Wellpinit, WA
The Wellpinit Boys & Girls Club (WBGC) was established in 2017 through a partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County and the Spokane Tribe of Indians. The WBGC serves approximately 500 youths between the ages of 5-18 and provides out-of-school activities at no charge to the communities’ families. Due to a high volume of use over the years, major improvements to the WBGC’s ball field are needed for young athletes to continue to use it and enjoy the club’s new programs such as a T-Ball League and Coach-Pitch Programs.
“It means a great deal to our partners from the Spokane Tribe of Indians knowing we have support from organizations like Major League Baseball and Scotts to continue our program.” said Bill Tsoukalas, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Snohomish County.
WBGC plans for this refurbished field to be a major focal point in Wellpinit for community activities, organized sports and family inter-generational events and cultural celebrations. These activities bring tribal members and extended families together, reminding the youth and teens about the importance of maintaining their cultural ties.
COURTESY MLB MEDIA RELATIONS & MLBpressbox.com