Jalen was interested in joining the baseball team at Freire Charter School, but didn’t have any of the equipment he needed to play.
A basketball player all his life, Jalen shared his interest in baseball with his teacher Samuel Forman, who is also the school’s baseball coach.
That same day, Freire Charter School had received a shipment of baseball equipment from Pitch In For Baseball & Softball. Forman was able to offer Jalen a pair of cleats and a glove, inspiring him to join the team.
“He practiced hard, so that was rewarded at first with an at-bat,” Forman shared. “He drew a bases-loaded walk that drove in the winning run.”
At the end of the season, Jalen even got a chance on the mound, with his team up five runs.
He threw 13 pitches, 9 strikes – and struck out three.
“He jogged off the field and celebrated with his teammates. We put up a crooked number in the next inning to win by mercy rule,” Forman said.
“He was on top of the world.”
2018 had been a tough year for the team, as they struggled to get enough kids academically eligible to play each game.
“We had an opportunity to be as good as we’ve ever been, but it never came together,” Forman said.
“We were put on probation and could not afford to forfeit a single game or we would lose our program.”
The program turned a corner in 2019. Located in Philadelphia, PA, Freire Charter has very little funding for its baseball program. Donations, such as those received through PIFBS, keep the program afloat.
With 12 first-time players last year, Forman shared that 75% of the team showed improved attendance in school – and all of them improved academically.
“This season was different. The kids really bought in, and leaders emerged that made sure everyone was accountable to each other, new and returning,” Forman said.
“We got off to a hot start and never looked back, finishing with our highest winning percentage ever. More importantly, we only had one single instance of a player missing a game due to ineligibility. It was a pleasure to watch this growth in team culture. Of course, a baseball team on the rise needs to be equipped. That would not have happened without our PIFBS box.”
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Freire Charter student video: https://youtu.be/1fKgN9ssdGg