Nearly 40 boys and girls from Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast learned baseball basics from Orioles players and coaches at a clinic at Ed Smith Stadium on March 22. Accompanied to the clinic by their "Bigs," the youths received instruction in pitching, hitting, fielding, throwing and baserunning. The Oriole Bird also joined in for photos and lots of hugs.
Orioles players who participated included RHP DYLAN BUNDY and minor league players BOBBY BUNDY, JARED BREEN, JEROME PENA and PITA RONA. Coaches were minor league Manager MATT MERULLO - a former major league catcher - and FELIPE ROJAS ALOU JR., Director of the Orioles' Dominican Republic Academy.
"Orioles players, coaches and staff are thrilled each year to host a series of youth clinics at Ed Smith Stadium," said DAVID ROVINE, Vice President of Orioles-Sarasota. "We are planning two more clinics for 2014 with select youth organizations. It's another way the Orioles give back to the community and seek to influence young people through providing positive role models. In that way, our goals align perfectly with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast."
"We are so excited to have our Sports Buddies Program Little's participate in the Orioles Youth Baseball Clinic at Ed Smith Stadium," said JOY MAHLER, CEO and President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast. "In our Sports Buddies program, mentors and children meet twice a month to participate in or attend a sporting event. What a great experience for the children to receive instruction from professional baseball players while helping them develop and learn new skills."
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast provides one-to-one mentoring relationships to children ages 6-18 years old in Sarasota, Manatee, DeSoto, Highlands, Hardee, Charlotte, Lee, Collier, Glades and Hendry counties. There are 1,700 Big-Little pairs in the 10-county region.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast holds itself accountable for children in its program to achieve measurable outcomes, such as educational success; avoidance of risky behaviors; and higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships. The organization provides children facing adversity -- often those of single- or low-income households or families -- with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one mentoring relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For more information visit: www.bbbssun.org.
The Orioles' youth baseball clinics are part of Sarasota 365, a host of initiatives through which the Baltimore Orioles and OriolesREACH demonstrate the ballclub's year-round engagement with the Greater Sarasota community. Whether hosting youth activities, participating in charitable causes or partnering in efforts to boost the local economy, the Orioles are active in the region all year long, proving that their commitment to the club's southern home goes far beyond baseball.