Mission Hill Little League (MHLL) players are playing their season in fully-equipped style, thanks to a donation of baseballs, catchers’ equipment, bats, baseball gloves and batting helmets from Kids Gear for Baseball, a nonprofit run by teenagers.
“These teenagers are interested in helping communities in the inner city and underprivileged youth play baseball safely and build wonderful lifelong memories of baseball,” MHLL President Rafael Luna told the Gazette. “Mission Hill Little League was fortunate to receive their large donation of baseball equipment, especially since our MHLL kids hail from the bottom of the socioeconomic strata.”
Luna told the Gazette that many 11- and 12-year-old MHLL players were playing with second-hand gloves they had received when they were 7 or 8 years old before the donation.
Trevor Ritchie, 17, and Russell McCarthy, 16, run Kids Gear for Baseball with the help of their parents.
“Rafael reached out to us” for a donation, Ritchie told the Gazette. Luckily, he said, the organization had a lot of gear in stock following a recent collection drive at Fenway Park and a $5,000 donation from Major League Baseball’s Baseball Tomorrow Fund, and it was able to help.
“We’ve been fortunate enough to be able to help out others,” Ritchie said. “It’s been great.”
Making the donation was a memorable moment for Ritchie and McCarthy, they said.
Seeing the MHLL kids’ faces “was just like Christmas morning,” McCarthy said. “It was really nice to see that.”
Before the donation, the majority of kids wanted to play pitcher instead of catcher because the catcher equipment was old, missing straps, and mismatched, Luna told the Gazette. Now that all eight teams have complete, brand-new catcher kits, most of the MHLL kids “want to play the catcher position just to don the brand new catcher’s gear,” he said.
“Our MHLL kids are filled with character, determination and desire for a brighter future,” Luna said. “We all have the right to live the American dream, and it is donations in the kind that we received from Kids Gear for Baseball that allow our MHLL kids to play baseball safely and develop life skills that would help guide them for the rest of their lives.”
Kids Gear for Baseball’s website is kidsgearforbaseball.com. MHLL’s website is eteamz.com/missionhill.