Sports leagues ask for ‘likes’
Published 11:01 pm Monday, February 25, 2013
Three youth sports fields in Suffolk and one in Windsor are up for the public’s consideration for free improvements in a contest sponsored by minor-league baseball team Norfolk Tides.
Facebook users are asked to vote on the fields by “liking” photos on the team’s Facebook page. The field with the most likes will be renovated by Tides groundskeepers and office staff. Voting ends this Friday at 4 p.m.
Fields at Holland Athletic Association, Nansemond River Pony Baseball, Suffolk Youth Athletic Association and Windsor Athletic Association are among the 13 entered in the contest.
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Two of the organizations are asking for the public’s votes so they can get new fields for T-ball softball for girls ages 6 and younger.
“We want to get kids interested in softball earlier,” Holland Athletic Association President Gene Groves said. “That was kind of the biggest thing that was brought up (when the board chose the field to submit). We’re trying to make our 6U softball grow. We chose that field because of that reason.”
Holland Youth Athletic Association serves 120 families on three fields in the rural village. Groves said the field needs work on the dugouts and other features.
“We’re not real picky,” he said. “Anything we can get a little help with.”
At Suffolk Youth Athletic Association, the girls and boys have played T-ball baseball together until they age up to coach-pitch, said Darren Brown, commissioner for baseball and softball. However, they would like to separate the teams, and upgrades to a field would help them achieve that.
“Softball is different,” Brown said. “We want to try to keep the girls together as they come up through the organization.”
SYAA has about 425 kids in the baseball and softball programs, and also has soccer and field hockey programs. Brown said the field has “dirt and some poles for a backstop,” but that’s it.
“With funding and stuff … it has been real difficult for us to do any major projects,” he said.
Nansemond River Pony Baseball is seeking help for a field that supports the Bronco and Pony divisions, which serve 11- to 14-year-olds. About 125 players participate in the organization, president Myra McCarthy said. The installation of lights on another field has depleted the capital improvements fund, she added. The organization is holding fundraisers but still could use help.
“We really need help because of having to pay out for the lights to be installed,” she said. “It’s an ongoing thing just to try to keep fields up.”
She said the field needs a new pitcher’s mound, new bases and back fencing either repaired or replaced.
The Windsor Athletic Association is requesting assistance as well, hoping a win will “move us closer to completing our goal of renovating all five fields,” according to the Tides Facebook page.
Last year, the Bennett’s Creek Little League was the Suffolk beneficiary of the Tides’ generosity. Volunteers helped level the infield and repair dugouts.
The project is possible because of the Youth Baseball Fund, a program established by the Tides in 1990 as a way to raise money for youth baseball and softball programs in Hampton Roads. In addition to assisting with field renovations, the Youth Baseball Fund also helps local teams and leagues with travel expenses.
To vote for local teams, follow these links, sign in if necessary and then click “like”: