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Orange County Register (California)

More than 500 baseballs and softballs, 60 bats, 20 batting tees, umpire gear and other items have been donated to the Banning-Pass Little League by the Morongo Band of Mission Indians.

The gear represents a $5,500 gift from the tribe to the league, according to a news release from the tribe.

Current league President Jim Price said when the league was founded three years ago, he and another organizer "scoured Southern California, taking any used equipment that we could get because we didn't have any money,"

"It served our purpose until we could get on our feet," Price said.

The latest donation follows a $3,200 Morongo donation of dozens of batting helmets, bats and other baseball and softball equipment two years ago.

The league serves the area from Calimesa to Whitewater. Price is proud of the group's policy to not turn away any child who wants to play, even if their family can't afford the registration fee. About 450 to 550 children play in the league, which uses Lions Park.

Safety is important, so Price said the league has to replace some equipment every year.

The Morongo donation last month came in time for end of season play, all star games and tournaments.

"Baseball and softball are a great way for kids to enjoy the benefits of exercise while learning sportsmanship, teamwork and other valuable skills," said tribal Chairman Robert Martin. "We're delighted to help the Banning Pass Little League keep costs down and offer a quality program to the community."

Every child received an award for participating during the league's closing day for the spring season on Saturday.

June 20, 2014




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