Baseball Tourney a Home Run for Convoy of Hope

Convoy of Hope will have extra volunteers on hand Tuesday when 300 baseball players pitch in to work at the organization’s weekly Hands of Hope program.

From 6-7 p.m. and 7:30-8:30 p.m., shifts of 150 players each will join other volunteers to sort shoes for distribution where needed and prepare powdered milk for shipment to victims of the earthquake that occurred in April in Nepal. The athletes are competing in the Premier Baseball Senior Championship, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings July 14-19.

Tournament director Don Patty said community service projects are an important part of Premier Baseball.

“We are thrilled to get to work with the organization at a community service night,” Patty said. “The work they do is phenomenal. The community service project is something that will be a great experience for our kids and will allow them to contribute back to the community and world and see real world situations and to provide a helping hand.”

Lisa Nene, volunteer engagement and administration director at Convoy of Hope, said the organization is happy to have the extra help. A large quantity of powdered milk was donated in 2,000-pound bags and it needs to be condensed into smaller bags before shipping. It’s a messy job, but youth seem to enjoy it for that very reason.

“We’ve been very fortunate with different sports teams wanting to volunteer for Convoy of Hope,” Nene said. “They bring their players and coaches and volunteer as a team building event.”

This marks the fourth year for Premier Baseball to compete in the Springfield area and the second tournament this summer. The first was the 2015 Premier Baseball Incoming Freshman Championship, presented by Buffalo Wild Wings June 30-July 5.

“It has been a pleasure to have Premier Baseball in our community the past four years for both the Incoming Freshman Championship and Senior Championship,” said Lance Kettering, executive director of the Springfield Sports Commission. “ We look forward to many more years of hosting this event in our community and region. We are honored to have the backing of a great supporter of the Springfield Sports Commission and sports in our community in Buffalo Wild Wings.”

Patty said Springfield has been a good fit for Premier Baseball.

“We have a wonderful partnership with the Springfield community as a whole,” Patty said. “They are not just a host; they treat us like a family coming home for a reunion.”

During the Incoming Freshman Championship, that was proved, Patty said. With three straight days or rain, there were hundreds of people working the fields to get them ready for play.

“They went over and above what you would expect from someone,” Patty said. “They have gone from beyond being a host to being like family.”

People interested in the baseball action are invited to attend. Tournament passes are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and students and free for ages 6 and younger. Daily passes are $6 for adults, $4 for students and free for ages 6 and younger. Visit www.premierbaseball.net for a schedule and locations and follow @premierbaseball on Twitter.

Games will take place at Meador Park; Southwest Baptist and Evangel universities; and Willard, Forsyth, Ozark, Marshfield, Springfield Catholic, Kickapoo and Nixa high schools.

The tournament will include 34 teams, including four Midwest Nationals teams, two 417 Baseball teams, Kickapoo Chiefs, Nixa Eagles, Ozark Tigers and Willard Tigers.

Premier Baseball is comprised of 31 elite baseball organizations in North America with a common goal to provide student athletes maximum exposure to the collegiate and professional scouting communities. Premier events are played at top college and professional venues in North America.

Premier Baseball organizations are committed to working together for the betterment and advancement of all players. Member programs are dedicated, through collaborative leadership, to develop, promote and deliver quality instruction, competition and student-athlete centered programs which allow players to reach their true potential.

Premier Baseball players compete at the highest levels while learning life lessons including discipline, hard work, teamwork, sportsmanship and integrity. By consistently playing with the best and against the best players in North America, Premier Baseball players are more prepared for collegiate and professional baseball.

The organization’s alumni list includes over 10,100 college players and 1,600 MLB drafted players. Past Premier Baseball alums include current Major Leaguers Max Scherzer, Paul Goldschmidt, Albert Pujols, Hunter Pence and others.

Premier Baseball is one of many amateur sports organizations brought to the area by the Springfield Sports Commission and the Convention & Visitors Bureau. The nonprofit organizations are dedicated to boosting the local economy through growth in travel and tourism to the area. For more information, call 417-881-5300 or visit www.SpringfieldMoSports.org and www.SpringfieldMo.org.

Learn more about Convoy of Hope and the Hands of Hope program at www.convoyofhope.org or contact Nene at 417-851-4442 or lnene@convoyofhope.org,

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Lance Kettering is the Executive Director of the Springfield Sports Commission and Sports Sales Manager for the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau

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