Pioneer Little League will be representing the Southeast Region at the Softball World Series beginning next week and Lisa Sanders, the mother of one of the players, said the trip to Portland, Ore. is the kind of a once in a lifetime experience on which you can’t put a price tag.
But this priceless event will actually come at a big cost for the families of the 12 girls on the team which will be out west for nine days beginning Aug. 5. Little League covers the costs for the members of the team.
“There is the flight, the hotel room, the food. It is really a lot for families that have already spent money going with the team to state and region tournaments,” Sanders said.
To help cover some of the cost, Pioneer is seeking community support. It has set a goal of $15,000.
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Another mother who is working hard to get donations is Karan Harrison.
“Not only does it cost money to make the trip, but some parents have to take time off from work without pay to go so that makes the burden greater. Still, the kids deserve to have their parents, their fans at the games,” she said.
She said the parents are looking at many ways to cut costs.
Chuck Landrum, the father of a player, manages the team which beat Virginia twice in the finals, 7-6 and 8-2, to reach the World Series.
“Softball is getting bigger and bigger,” Landrum said, “These girls have worked very hard to get here. They will be representing Columbus and eight states including Georgia.”
He said the girls will be bringing national attention to the city just as some of the Little League boys teams have in the past.
As for raising the funds, he said those associated with Pioneer hit the ground running as soon as the title was captured in Warner Robins, Ga.
Coach Micky Mallory, who has a daughter on the team, said this trip is something that the players and parents will never go through again.
“It’s not cheap but it is special. These girls are the first from here to ever make it to the World Series. They are making history,” Mallory said.
He added that Columbus is a big softball town going back to when the Olympics were here in 1996 and that this team is continuing the tradition.
Another coach whose daughter plays on the team, Bo Weaver, said the $15,000 will just help to lower the expenses and wishes the team had more time to raise the funds. “We are working furiously to get help for a team that will be representing the entire southeast,” Weaver said.
Team members are Jillian Holloway, Lindsey Sanders, Kamdyn Fuller, Raelee Weaver, Cydnee Harrison, Nyiah Kelley, Savannah Landrum, Jada Chadwick, Aiyanna Taylor, Kennedi Bedell, Mary Head and Sammie Cotton.
Here are some places to donate:
A car wash will be held Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Chick-fil-A on Bradley Park Drive.
A yard sale will be Saturday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Airport S Mart on Airport Thruway.
A table will be set up Sunday from 1 p.m.-5 p.m. at the Winn Dixie on Veterans Parkway.
A table will be set up Saturday at Pop’s Place on County Line Road.
A table will be set up from 5:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday at B. Merrell’s on Veterans Parkway.
People wanting to contribute online can go to www.gofundme.com/c9ofbg.