Project PlayBall! Hosts Kickball Tournament Fundraiser to Enhance Little League Facilities
Four teams competed in a kickball tournament fundraiser hosted by the Smith Middle School Community Problem Solving team, Project PlayBall! on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the Sinton Little League Park. All four teams were made up of students from Sinton Elementary school, with the “Maroon Goons” team winning the championship.
The tournament and the concession stand during the tourney brought in over $750, which will help Project PlayBall! achieve their goal of enhancing the Sinton Little League facilities. Project PlayBall! Team member Jolie Lankford explains, “We saw that the facilities weren’t up to the standards they could be, so we formed a Community Problem Solving (CmPS) team to try to make them better. We want more kids to come out and play.”
Project PlayBall! Is the brainchild of nine Smith Middle School Future Problem Solvers who have played Little League baseball or softball in Sinton. They identified several areas at the Little League facilities that are in need of improvement. Team member C.D. Ellis hopes the team can “get the fields back to the way I remember when I played on them.” Project PlayBall team members have been researching, planning, and working since August, and have had meetings with the Sinton City Council and with Sinton City Manager John Hobson.
The team has also collaborated with Sinton Little League president Matthew Villarreal and treasurer Rebecca Rodriguez, who advised them about many planned improvements to the Sinton Little League facilities. Upon meeting with Villarreal and Rodriguez, Project PlayBall! members decided to tackle the challenge of building a T-Ball field at the Little League Park. The team is now looking for support to help them achieve this goal.
According to Ellis, building a T-Ball field will require at least $5,000, so Project PlayBall! held the kickball tournament as a fundraiser. Fifth-grader Julian Suarez, who played on the Maroon Goons kickball team, stated, “I really enjoyed playing (kickball), and I thought it was for a great cause. Making the fields better will help the city and help the kids learn the great sport of baseball.” Maroon Goons coach Lacey Swanson added, “the kids of the community will benefit from this fundraiser for years to come!”
According to Project PlayBall! team members, overseeing the kickball tournament was a learning experience in many ways. Logan Ohler said, “I learned how to properly umpire a kickball game and how to keep the scoreboard for the games.” Izabella Ohler “learned how to manage a concession stand.” Ellis realized that “when you are umpiring, you have to concentrate because if you miss something, it’s not going to go well.”
Members of the Project PlayBall! Community Problem Solving team are Hailey Burch (6th grade), Jamie Burch (8th grade), C.D. Ellis (7th grade), Jayden Gonzales (8th grade), Addison Kay (7th grade), Jolie Lankford (6th grade), Lilly Lozano (7th grade), Izabella Ohler (8th grade), and Logan Ohler (7th grade). The team is coached by Elizabeth Nieto with assistant coach Emma Nieto (12th grade).
Project PlayBall! Team members Jolie Lankford, Izabella Ohler, Addison Kay, C.D. Ellis, Jamie Burch, Hailey Burch, Lilly Lozano, and Logan Ohler (not pictured, Jayden Gonzales)
Team Maroon Goons: Front row - Mason Swanson, Luke Villarreal, Austin Mutchler, Roland Galvan, Andrew Morataya, Kyhran Rodriguez Back Row- Josiah Santellana, Henry Nunn, Julian Suarez, Emily Avalos, Mariah Santellana, Cristian Espinoza
Team Havoc: Front Row- Aileena Ybarra, Kaelyn Gonzales, Rolando Ybarra, Ethan Ohler,Quinton Rhines Back Row- K’lyn Ybarra, Caylee Chavez, Rhianna Gonzales, Seth Ruiz, Aubrey Martinez, Eryiann Deleon, Dylan Arriaga
Team Hawks: Evalynn Deleon, Alejandra Lopez , Eryiann Deleon, Caylee Chavez, Kylie Espinoza, Mason Pugh, Quinton Rhines, Dylan Arriaga, K’lyn Ybarra, Kyler Longoria
Team Sinton Warriors: Antonio Botello, Mia Torres, Jaydan Torres, Alex Torres, Trey Guerrero, Jase Gonzales, Caden Cantu, Evan , Isaac Guerrero