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The Virginian-Pilot(Norfolk, VA.)
September 12, 2013 Thursday
The Virginian-Pilot Edition
LOCAL; Pg. B1
|Longtime dreams of baseball fields come true in Beach
By Gabriella Souza |
It took 25 years of candy bar sales, carwashes and Sunday bingo games.
A million dollars later, the Princess Anne Little League's dream is coming true.
By November, the league will get a new facility, with two synthetic-turf fields. It breaks ground at its 26-acre site on Dam Neck Road today.
The league, which formed when Green Run Little League and Princess Anne Little League combined, got some help from baseball great Cal Ripken Jr.'s youth development foundation, which donated $150,000. The Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, named for Ripken's dad, a professional baseball manager and coach, has built 16 similar fields around the U.S.
The foundation, which can secure lower-cost building materials, designed and is constructing the facility.
The foundation also will help raise money for its next phase, Vice President Chuck Brady said.
The league has 500 kids, from T-ballers to high schoolers. Members hope to bring in $1 million more to add other fields. The league is leasing the land from the city at no cost, although it must pay for any changes and maintenance.
Eventually, the grounds will include a 5,000-square-foot clubhouse, 176-space parking lot and enough playing fields for the league to double in size, board member Steve Rockefeller said.
Another goal is to have a field equipped for those with physical disabilities, with shorter paths between bases and more even surfaces. That way, "every kid gets to play ball," Rockefeller said. The league already participates in what is called the Challenger Division, in which kids with physical and intellectual disabilities play a version of the game. Everyone bats, and keeping score is discouraged.
Cal Ripken's foundation says its goals are to provide disadvantaged youths the opportunity to learn the game and gain positive life skills. Several members of the Princess Anne league are on scholarship, meaning their equipment and game costs are taken care of by the league, and the expansion will allow that number to grow, Rockefeller said.
Gabriella Souza, 757-222-5117, [email protected]
September 12, 2013