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KCK RBIThe KCK RBI Lil Fire Plug Reds were at opening day recently of the KCK RBI program. The team is called the Lil Fire Plug Reds because they are the kids of the local KCK Fire Department, coached by Brett Rymer. (Photo from Cle Ross, KCK RBI)
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KCK RBIKCK RBI kids and fans enjoyed the Parade of Champions from the stands recently during the season-opening events. (Photo from Cle Ross, KCK RBI)
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KCK RBIKCK RBI players and coaches gathered in front of the crowd at the recent opening day festivities. (Photo from Cle Ross, KCK RBI)
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KCK RBIKCK-RBI Executive Director Cle Ross and his son Ringo Ross, who was playing in his first T-ball game for the KCK RBI Marlins. (Photo from KCK RBI)
On Friday, May 17, KCK-RBI kicked off the 2013 season with an opening day Parade of Champions at Eisenhower Middle school baseball fields.
The 2013 Parade of Champions was the largest turnout in KCK-RBI history. More than 1,200 KCK-RBI players, parents, coaches, and members of the community were present.
Ayanna Ervin, a KCK-RBI parent, shared her thoughts on the event,
"My son has played from the start of KCK-RBI, and this is my daughter's second year. I am amazed at how much this organization has grown. Friday night was a testament to the positive light Cle Ross, and his growing staff, has brought to so many underprivileged children and teens. Mr. Ross is like a child at Christmas time, when he is interacting with the kids. He is always willing to help, listen, and has genuine concern for all of the kids. There is no doubt that this organization can, has, and will change the lives of families and children in the inner-city. Great job!"
More than 27 teams of kids ages 3-12 were announced in front of the large crowd following a league welcome from Pure Talent Sports Ministry - founder and Schlagle grad, Mike Birmingham.
On Saturday, May 18, the Joe Hooker Memorial Tournament, named after a former KCK-RBI player who was tragically murdered in May of 2010, marked the official start of game play.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature struck and put KCK-RBI into a position where the league could only hold one day of baseball, but the one day of baseball that did get played provided an awesome start.
Three teams managed to finish the day with undefeated records and they were the coach-pitch Royals, coach-pitch Red Sox, and 10-12 Royals who outscored their opponents 22-0 during a three-game span.
KCK RBI-Executive Director Cle Ross shared his thoughts on opening day weekend: "Every child that I crossed paths with had a sense of pride about themselves as some of them took the field for the first time and others walked with a unique sense of self confidence as they returned to the diamond for a another season of KCK-RBI baseball/softball. That same pride was seen in the stands considering you had random members of the community, parents, grandparents, and other family members dressed in team colors, chanting, and hghi-fiving when runs were scored and games were completed. KCK-RBI will continue to use baseball/softball as a tool to silence youth violence and help educate the young men and women who will be the future leaders of our community for years to come."
KCK-RBI has grown from 150 participants in 2010, to more than 800 participants in 2013, raising the overall league participant Grade Point Average (G.P.A) from 1.9 to 2.6 during that time span. Ross said KCK-RBI and its staff members thank Major League Baseball, Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI), the Kansas City, Kan., Parks and Rec Department, sponsors, and freightquote.com for helping make it all possible.
KCK-RBI upcoming events:
Dirt Dandies Elite All-State games which feature the top graduating high school seniors in the state of Kansas/KC metro area and collegiate talent will be played this weekend (June 1) at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, Kansas City, Kan. The Team KCK squad will be coached by Washington High School Hhead baseball coach Sean Lopez and will feature players from Bishop Ward, Turner High School, Basehor-Linwood, and two former Harmon graduates. Junior College, D-I, D-II, NAIA, and Pro Scouts will be in attendance and concessions will be sold.
Dirt Dandies Elite All-State games
Saturday, June 1
Game times - 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m.
There will be a total of four games – featuring four teams. Team Dirt, Team Dandies, Team KCK, Team RBI.
Games will be played at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, home of the Kansas City T-Bones,
1800 Village West Parkway, Kansas City, Kan.
Game 1: Team KCK vs. Team RBI - 10 a.m.
Game 2: Team Dirt vs. Team Dandies - noon
Game 3: Team Dandies vs. Team RBI - 2 p.m.
Game 4: Team Dirt vs. Team KCK - 4 p.m.