Thanks to the efforts of a local dad and baseball coach, the contributions of 37 donors plus tremendous in-kind support, and the hard work of many volunteers, the JCC baseball fields are now better than ever.
This spring and summer, the JCC is proud to host its AK softball teams and the Columbus Baseball Invitational, as well as baseball teams from Bexley Rec and local schools including Bexley Middle and High Schools on its transformed diamonds, complete with team dugouts featuring brand new benches, a new utility vehicle to keep the repaired fields looking fantastic, a storage shed to house the utility vehicle, and new signage and bleachers.
The project originated when Rick Snowdon, who has coached baseball for the past nine years, was watching two of his sons’ simultaneous baseball games on the side-by-side fields. Snowdon said, “I was sitting in the outfield watching both games at once, and I noticed the older kids, 15-17 years old, sitting on a little bench with no dugout, no protection from the sun or the rain. It was the same bench they’d been sitting on since they were seven, and I thought this really isn’t substantial enough for that level of play.”
It began with a desire for dugouts and snowballed from there as Snowdon pulled resources and people together to help make it happen, including significant support from the JCC, especially JCC Recreation and Wellness Director Jeanna Brownlee and JCC senior leadership. The City of Bexley provided financial support for the creation of four concrete pads upon which the new bleachers will sit. The Bexley Boosters helped out by providing the funding for six new bleachers. JCC funds, including the Byer SML Baseball/Softball Endowment Fund, also helped fund the project.
JJ Corcella, another involved baseball dad, led the construction of the new shed and dugout roofs. Plus, Snowdon reached out to a private foundation and the many families he had coached and known throughout his years involved in Bexley baseball, and “lots of families kicked in financially,” Snowdon said. “We raised $60,000 between cash and in-kind contributions. I think it’s great. I’m excited.”
Snowdon is most excited that generations of children to come will benefit from the improvements to the JCC fields. “It’s fantastic that the JCC has so generously shared these fields with the community for all these years. I thought fixing them up would be a nice way to say thank you and to create an environment that would help keep Bexley kids interested in baseball for a long time.”
Snowdon’s already noticed one impact of the efforts. “Because we’ve invested in these fields, people are getting excited and taking better care of them. So there’s this nice kind of follow on impact,” he explained.
The collaboration also increased camaraderie among parents in the community. “We built this storage shed ourselves. We’ve been working together every weekend since Thanksgiving. We have all these different volunteers— a contractor, a doctor, lawyers, folks who work in technology and finance. Even Mayor Kessler has been out to swing a hammer. We don’t get to do stuff like this every day, where you use your hands and can step back and see the results of your labors, so it’s been really gratifying in that way, too.”
To learn more about the JCC’s softball and baseball offerings, including signing up for the JCC’s adult AK softball league that begins this spring, contact Josh Goldstein at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 614-559-6286.