AVOIDING A PITCH—Children ages 9-11 from the Homewood Reds and the Braddock Vipers play at Turner Field. (Photos by Erin Perry)
by Erin Perry
The sounds of summer ring through the air. Baseball bats cutting the dry winds of Summer days, children cheering and laughing as they hit balls and run bases, and coaches asserting corrections and shouting motivation as the Wilkinsburg Baseball League ends its season with the playoffs.
This familiar scene has been occurring for more than 40 years under the direction of long-time Wilkinsburg resident and league participant David Reese. He and his co-organizers proudly tell of the successes of the program, that they provide a structured environment and activity for the youth of neighborhoods other than Wilkinsburg, that everyone comes with the intent of doing the right thing for the children, and that communities have a space to come together in peace.
Students as young as 3 years of age play in the league, receiving the guidance of coaches who serves as father figures to many. According to David Reese, they are a consistent male presence in the lives of participants.
The league provides a space for children to be surrounded by people who love and support them. Parents and friends sit sprinkled along the wood chipped bleachers watching their children while eating fries and icees from the concession stand.
ANDRE BYRD OF WILKINSBURG SWINGS AT PITCH FROM EAST HILLS ANGELS
YOUTH FROM THE BRADDOCK VIPERS
GOOD TIMES IN WILKINSBURG AT TURNER FIELD
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