By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
PITCH In for Youth Baseball, a non-profit organisation created to assist with the collection and distribution of baseball equipment throughout the Caribbean and South and Central America, made its inaugural visit to the Bahamas over the weekend.
During the trip, arranged through the Bahamas Baseball Association, Pitch In presented its first distribution of equipment to Mario Ford’s Community Baseball Programme at Windsor Park on Saturday.
The husband and wife team of Dr Amar and Meghana Rajadhyaksha, who formed the organisation to support of their son, Vinay, were in town to make the presentation. They indicated that they intend to come back in the future to continue to assist other local leagues in the Bahamas.
Shane Albury, the vice president of the BBA, said they welcome the gesture by Pitch In.
“We are trying to promote the various leagues in the country and this is just the start of things to come,” Albury said.
He said Ford’s camp was selected for the first donation because of the work he’s been doing and the need for him to secure more equipment to assist with his programme, which is conducted every Saturday between the hours of 9:30am to noon at Windsor Park. “Things like this will go a long way in helping to further improve the level of baseball in the country,” Albury said.
As the initial benefactors of the donation, Ford said he appreciates the support from the BBA and Pitch In and he vowed to make the most of what they have received in assisting the many young boys and girls who pass through their programme that is ran for nine months of the year.
“When we got the call from Shane Albury and the BBA, we were excited because these are some equipment that we could use for the betterment of the many young people who participate in our programme,” Ford said.
“We want to continue to keep these youngsters motivated as they move forward and so this donation will go a long way in assisting in that regard.”
As a programme that caters mainly to youngsters out of the grassroot areas, Ford said most of the participants lack the proper equipment when they come out to participate. But the equipment will further motivate them to compete.
“We started our final session on September 3 and it will run until October 9 at every Saturday,” Ford said. “The youngsters come out every Saturday and they get a chance to develop their skills in training sessions and they also display those skills in game situations. He noted that the players are all enthused about the programme and he’s seen a vast improvement in a lot of them. “We feel that by them coming out on Saturdays, when they start to play baseball in the high schools, they will be better able to perform,” he said.
“There are a lot of activities going on, so we try not to overcrowd them, but just provide an avenue for them to train on a weekly basis.”
Albury said Pitch In intends to come back every few months and provide equipment to other leagues just as they do in other areas, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic since 2020. The Bahamas is the first island touched in the Caribbean.
Pitch In was formed by Rajadhyaksha, an orthopedic spine surgeon in Miami who played baseball all of his life and is a big fan of the Boston Red Sox.
However, when his 11-year-old son Vinay got involved in the sport, he noticed his keen interest in helping other young players his age. Vinay, who pitches and plays at first base, started collecting new and gently used baseball equipment and also to raise funds for uniforms for leagues in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
In addition to the Bahamas, he hopes to extend his philanthropy to Cuba, Honduras, Colombia and Venezuela.
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