Local ballclub prepares players for future on and off the field

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By Lindsay Seagraves/News Editor

The newly formed Hitters baseball team is preparing about 25 players, ranging from ages 4 to 7 and 13 to 16,  for success through baseball. 

Part of East Gadsden Baseball League, the Hitters’ goal is to involve kids in baseball to prepare them for a better future through teambuilding, educating and giving them options for their future. The East Gadsden Baseball League’s motto is “The children are our future.”

Coach Leroy Oatis said, “East Gadsden Baseball league has a wealth of talent. We are trying to tap into that talent by bringing baseball back to this part of town, because it’s been away from this side.” 

Oatis said it bothered him that baseball leagues were not in East Gadsden, and decided to “get up off his feet” and get one started.

He said he believes kids who are involved with a sports team early in life are more prepared for  getting into college or getting good jobs out of high school.

“[The season] will be a year-long process,” Oatis said. “We’ll have conditioning and light workouts for the fall and [more practicing] before the 2015 season starts.”

He believes each child deserves equal playing time and playing level. 

“I don’t want the lack of education, lack of resources or bad attitude to hinder them from reaching the next level.”

Oatis said he mentors his players by taking them on trips to different businesses, colleges and to see minor league baseball teams. “I want them to know what goes on; to see the work they have to do to prepare for [their future.]” 

Oatis is currently working on a drug and alcohol seminar he plans to have for his players in the fall, and a scholarship program called L.E.R.O.Y (Learning Education and Reaching Out to Youngers). 

Oatis said he works with his players on leadership skills and attitude, and takes them to church on Wednesday where they have dinner. “I hope it gives them more interest in being on the team. I want to help them make better decisions in life. Children are our future no matter what age, color or side of town their on, he explained.

The “Hitters” are hosting a community car wash to raise money for their baseball league on August 1 at Cash Saver in Gadsden.

Cost for a car wash will be $5 for exterior and $10 for full interior and exterior. 

The Hitters also plan to have a fundraising gospel show. They will have one more sign-up for kids who would like to join the team at Jack Lowe Sr. Baseball Field on Springfield Avenue in Gadsden.

Oatis said the team is currently looking for more coaches and helpers. 

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