‘Family fun day’ helps raise funds for new youth baseball gear

Linda Saholt

News Review Correspondent

‘Family fun day’ helps raise funds for new youth baseball gearRemember the fire last July that burned down the snack bar building at the Kerr-McGee Sports Complex on Downs Road? Stored inside that building were the uniforms, equipment, trophies, memorabilia and more belonging to the IWV Youth Baseball group, which serves about 350 local youths.

Organizers have been holding fundraisers ever since to replace equipment, a bit at a time. Now they’re close to completing the project, according to IWV Youth Baseball President Robert Look.

The Family Fun Day held April 26 was the latest in the series of fundraisers for that purpose. An estimated 300 people attended, enjoying bounce houses, dunk tanks and more.

“John’s Pizza brought their laser tag equipment out to the field and donated 30 percent of the proceeds. Casey’s sold sandwiches and donated the proceeds,” said Look. “Walmart gave us a $100 gift card for the raffle, and Adams Jewelry gave us a very nice necklace to raffle.” He said the event went very well.

Among the many items lost in the fire were All-Star uniforms, banners, catchers’ gear, photographs, historic programs from the ’60s and ’70s and a brand new shipment of plastic training balls —120 dozen of them.

“You can only get the best price when you buy them by the dozen, and if you buy them at the end of the season, they’re cheaper,” said Look. “The company we buy from, Easton Sports Equipment, put our logo on them for free. We were thinking ahead.”

After the fire, all those balls had to be replaced to be ready for the start of this year’s spring season. “We told Easton what happened, and they only charged us a 10-percent markup, and gave us $100 off on three $250 bats, which we raffled off at the Family Fun Day.”

Other major contributors have been the Evan Etoch Foundation, the China Lake Fire Department and the city of Ridgecrest.

“The city’s been very generous to us,” said Look. “We pay a fee to use the park, and we pay for lights and water. They’ve held off this year’s bill until we could pay at a later date.

“That’s been very helpful. We’ve been in contact with City Council and Mayor Dan Clark since the fire. We turned in an insurance claim. We had our own insurance, but somehow the fire part lapsed. About three weeks ago, City Clerk Rachel Ford said the insurance was approved to cover, so it’s just a matter of time before we get reimbursed, probably in time for spring 2015.”

He said the club has just spent some $25,000 on gear for the season. “We couldn’t have done it without the community’s help,” he said.

For more information about IWV Youth Baseball, see www.iwvyb.com or call Look at (760) 384-8324.

Ethan Southerland throws a ball at a dunk tank during the IWV Youth Baseball Family Fun Day at the Kerr McGee ballfields.

Photo by Laura Austin

Story First Published: 2014-04-30