Six Northern Little League teams captured the titles of their respective divisions of the District 8 Tournament. With the state tournaments drawing closer, the teams are now asking the community to lend a helping hand.
All six teams — The 8-10-year old, 9-11, 10-12 and junior baseball teams and the 8-10 and senior softball teams — have set up fundraising efforts for their state tournaments. In addition to financial donations, the teams are asking for help with food items and drinks for the children.
“The parents have called around to multiple businesses and different corporations throughout the city,” said Aimee Houston, whose son Camden is on the 8-10 baseball team. “When you have this many kids going somewhere, it helps us if somebody is even willing to donate some burgers or something like that.”
The fundraising efforts are not limited to GoFundMes and PayPals for the various teams. Some of the players are making trips to local restaurants in an effort for donors to see the young boys and girls who they are helping.
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Houston said her son’s team will be at Clearview Barbecue Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and B. Merrell’s and Cheddar’s Wednesday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The 10-year-old team is one of four squads with limited time to raise funds, as all the tournaments besides the 10-12 and junior baseball teams’ begin July 8. Houston said her son’s team leaves for Savannah Friday, meaning the parents and team organizers have much to do in a short amount of time.
Though the adults are hard at work to cover the costs of the trips, Houston made it clear the efforts are well worth it.
“They’re a very good group of children,” Houston said. “They’re an extremely well-mannered, grateful and hard-working group of athletes. Not only is it exciting for us as parents to really see their hard work and determination pay off, but it’s exciting to see them excited for not only themselves but each other.”
Houston explained the children on all six teams fit this mold and are all close. She said many of the players have been teammates since they were 5 years old, which has built friendships off the field. Houston said her son has several friends on the older baseball teams who root for her son and offer him tips for his game.
Houston joked her son and his teammates are just as excited to stay in a hotel as they are to keep playing baseball. These All-Star teams have done their share of work to reach this point, but so have the coaches who helped the team improve, the league’s organizers who provide the facilities and the parents who take off time from work to support their kids.
The 8-10-year-old team is one of many hoping to spend a week working toward a state championship. While such events don’t happen without a cost, those involved understand the magnitude of the moment for the kids on the field.
“They’re proud for themselves, for each other and for their coaches,” Houston said. “They’re really excited to be able to go spend time together and hopefully bring back a state championship for the city of Columbus.”
9-10-11 Baseball: PayPal
10-11-12 Baseball: PayPal
8-9-10 Softball: PayPal
Senior Softball: PayPal
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports