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Aug. 15, 2022

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Partnership gives away used baseball, softball equipment to youths

Good Sport Equipment Connection plans similar events for other sports

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:
5 Photos
Ethan Le, 12, gets advice Sunday while picking out a baseball bat during a used baseball gear distribution event at Clark College. The event was organized by the Good Sport Equipment Connection and supported by groups including the Police Activities League.
Ethan Le, 12, gets advice Sunday while picking out a baseball bat during a used baseball gear distribution event at Clark College. The event was organized by the Good Sport Equipment Connection and supported by groups including the Police Activities League. (Samuel Wilson for the Columbian) Photo Gallery

With baseball and softball season approaching, children of various ages collected free equipment Sunday at Clark College courtesy of a new program.

After collecting donations of the used equipment for more than a year, the Good Sport Equipment Connection hosted its first giveaway in the Kindsfather Field parking lot. A partnership involving a number of community businesses and organizations, the program also plans to host free distribution events for several other sports this year.

“Our goal is really to break down the financial burden for families and make sports accessible for every child,” said Erin Beck, a spokeswoman for Nautilus Inc., which is part of the partnership.

Sports like baseball and softball, which require bats, cleats, catcher’s gear, helmets and gloves, can give parents more of a financial headache than other sports.

“I played softball. It’s not an inexpensive sport to play,” said Jenny Thompson, executive director of the Vancouver Police Athletic League, also part of the partnership.

A handful of volunteers Sunday stood ready with tens of thousands of dollars worth of equipment. The Clark College baseball team — in uniform for a doubleheader that was canceled — was also at the event and offered some advice to younger players hoping to find the right equipment.

“It’s a lot more stuff than just, like, a glove that you have to bring,” outfielder Carson Doyle said.

For Doyle, with three brothers who also played Little League baseball, the need for equipment was common. While he’s seen kids’ gloves become damaged due to overuse, similar equipment giveaways were always helpful for his family, he said.

“Just to hand all of this stuff to people who need it, it always helps,” Doyle said.

Ethan Le, 12, started playing baseball last year and plans on participating in the upcoming Cascade Little League tryouts. Ethan is hoping to refine his pitching skills but said hitting is the hardest part of his new sport.

He spoke with the Clark players Sunday about bat sizes that would best suit him.

“Of course, if your kid wants to try something, you try your best to find room in the budget,” said Lorna Le, Ethan’s mother. “We saw this and thought it’d be perfect.”

Columbian county government and small cities reporter

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