Meet the Pittsfield Pirates,

Tell us about yourself – who you are, where you are from and why you applied for a grant.
The Pittsfield Pirates is a 16U baseball team from Pittsfield, MA, made up of players from 4 area high schools in Berkshire County.  These boys came together in the summer of 2015 with a common goal of creating a competitive team that could play in regional tournaments and garner attention from college recruiters.  The team applied for a grant from the JEHH Memorial Fund to help defray the high cost associated with tournament registration fees, travel expenses, and simply outfitting the team with a common jersey.
In a few words or sentences talk about your experience (i.e. what it was, where, when, how did you do, etc.)?
The Pittsfield Pirates had an amazing run in the summer of 2015, making it to at least the semifinals in every tournament they played.  From fields in Albany, NY, to Worcester, MA, to Baseball Heaven in Long Island, the Pirates held their own with some of the region’s most elite travel teams.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that these young men have played together every summer since Little League.  So despite the lack of practice time together prior to the summer season, raw talent and team chemistry were there to carry the day.  
What did you learn from this experience? About yourself? About your goal/dream? How did it make you feel to participate?
“Summer baseball has always been a huge part of my summer and provides me with something productive and active to do during the summer.”  Shane T.
 
“Baseball has been an integral part of my life, and has taught me many life lessons.  I’ve learned that sportsmanship applies as much in life as it does in sports.  The game has also taught me about respect, teamwork, friendship, and family.”  Jack S.
 
My teammates and I have had individual and team successes, but the game has also helped me make great friends, has allowed me to be mentored by caring adults, and has helped me learn about dedication, respect, and setting goals.”  Ryan A.
 
“Off the field is also a very important part of being on this team.  Just as I’ve always wanted to be a college baseball player, I have also wanted to accomplish a degree in college.  Through baseball, I am hoping to further my education.  Win or lose, I hope to accomplish my goals and to have memories that last a lifetime.”  Matt S.
 
“Playing on this team has helped me with my responsibility.  To join the team, each player worked ten hours to show willingness and to help out our community.  Being a sixteen year-old sophomore in high school, this will help me in getting ready for the real world that I have ahead of me in life.”  Deonte S.
 
“Baseball is also a release from reality for me.  For those two hours I’m on the field, I forget about everything – no work, no school, no drama . . . just the game of baseball.  Being on this team made the summer one that I will never forget.”  Ross O.
 
“As we traveled to elite tournaments in multiple states, it gave me a great opportunity to visit college campuses and develop relationships with players on other teams.”  Ty B.
 
“Participating on the team helped build my social skills.  Being a team member establishes and maintains friendships.  We celebrated when we won and supported each other when we lost.  We shared our accomplishments together and worked towards a common goal.  Being committed helps to build character, knowing that in life it takes commitment and hard work to achieve any goal.”  Simon N.
 
Did this experience open doors to new opportunities?
A number of the players made connections with college recruiters, so mission accomplished there.  And some of the 2017 class have since been invited to join elite AAU teams that could fast-track a college baseball opportunity.
What are you going to do next in pursuit of your dream(s)? What are your goals moving forward?
Almost all of the players on this team set out with the dual purpose of pursuing a college baseball career and having fun.  About half of the team is set to graduate in 2016, and many are hopeful that this high school season will end with an offer to play on a college team.  There are no actual “signings” to report yet, but stay tuned!
IMG_0972