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MLB Play Ball Initiative hits Daytona.

ANDREAS BUTLER                                                      DEEP FOCUS NEWS

Major League Baseball’s (MLB) Play Ball Initiative provided a free baseball clinic for youth ages 5 to 12-years-old at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in downtown Daytona Beach on April 20.

The initiative is a way to encourage young people and communities to engage in baseball or softball related activities, including formal leagues, special events and casual forms of play. 

MLB teams up with Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) with the program in an effort to spark interest in the sport in the Black community which has gravitated away from it in recent decades.

At this event it was MLB and Bethune-Cookman University baseball players instructing the youth.

The 90-minute clinic featured kids doing drills such as throwing, fielding ground balls, catching fly balls and hitting with plastic bats and rubber balls. 

Local youth enjoyed the clinic.  

8-year-old, Khaeden Virgil said, “It’s great. I like it. I am having fun at this clinic and learning baseball. I’ll likely try to play football too but I want to play baseball. Maybe I can go and play in college too.” 

9-year old, Aaliyah Burkes echoed, “This is a fun clinic. I like it. I am learning about baseball which is a sport that I am new to.” 

Bethune-Cookman baseball players also enjoyed teaching the kids. 

“Its’ really a pleasure. As a young kid I went to a camp like this that really sparked my love for the game. Things like this are needed in the community especially to get kids like myself and those in underrepresented communities to play baseball. It’s important and it's an honor to really get to help kids. It brightens up your day,” said Senior outfielder Jason Hodges. 

In the end the event aims to rekindle the interest of the Black community in the games of baseball and softball.  

Forrest Snow was the professional instructor at the clinic. Snow is a former pitcher who spent most of his time in the Seattle Mariners organization.  

For more information on MLB’s ‘Play Ball” initiative visit Play Ball | Inspiring Everyone to Play Ball | 

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