Sardis Little League receives grant from Pirates Charities for field improvements
Nelson Potts Field in Sardis plays host to little league baseball teams, ranging from t-ball to 11 and 12 years old.
All told, more than 80 kids from the Monroe County community play each summer on the field.
Making sure the field stays in the best shape possible and serves as something the players – and community – can be proud of is one of the main objectives of the officers of the Sardis Little League.
Thanks to a matching grant from the “Fields for Kids” initiative through Pirates Charities, which is the official philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, some significant upgrades are set to begin.
“The field has needed upgrades for quite some time,” Sardis Little League President Brett Grimes said. “We want to keep these fields moving forward and receiving this grant is big for us. We’re definitely grateful to have received it.”
According to a press release, The “Fields for Kids” program is one of Pirates Charities’ signature programs and provides financial support to improve youth baseball and/or softball facilities with grants ranging from $1,000 to $5,000.
Grant funds may be used for the upgrading of essential field components such as sod, infield playingsurfaces, fencing, dugouts and irrigation systems.
Upgrades to the overall facility, including lights,bleachers, scoreboards and concession stands are also eligible.
Sardis Little League received the $5,000 grant.
Grimes expects the project, which will allow a new backstop to be erected and new fencing surrounding the field to be installed, to begin very soon.
“The biggest hang up for us has been getting the time to do the work because of how often the field is utilized,” Grimes said. “Our goal is to have the work done by the end of the summer.”
Brett and Lisa DeGarmo handled much of the process of applying for the grant, according to Grimes.
“Lisa took the pictures of the field, wrote the grant and then sent everything into the Pirates,” Grimes said. “We definitely owe a lot to them for their contributions to this project.”
Once the fencing and backstop projects are completed, the organization will display a “Fields for Kids” sign and also submit photos and information back to the Pirates.
According to Grimes, the current backstop is “kind of a plastic mesh” and has been standing for at least 20 years.
“When it was put up, it was definitely efficient enough,” Grimes said.
“We’ve been able to patchwork it and that was sufficient, but we decided last year that we needed to just put up a new one.”
With their plans for improvement in mind, the Sardis Little League – led by then president Scott Piatt – started a fundraising committee.
“That made a big difference for us,” Grimes said.
“The committee has done an excellent job of raising money and getting sponsorships for these types of projects.”
Along with the DeGarmos, Piatt and the Pirates’ organization, Grimes expressed his appreciation for Sonny and Donnie Potts, who are the owners of the land.
“They’ve allowed us to use the land for 30-some years, and without them, realistically, I am not sure there’d be another field for baseball in Sardis.”
Sardis received one of the grants from the spring period. There are three deadlines throughout the year for applications to be submitted.
“We had initial meetings about it prior to last season,” Grimes said. “We explored different grants that might be out there, but we got a late start on some things and we didn’t apply for (the Fields for Kids) grant, but I think that actually benefitted us, so we were able to build up our money.”
No fewer than 12 different youth baseball and softball organizations were approved for grants during this round.
With the latest grants, the Fields for Kids program has now distributed 152 grants.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org