Professional softball player Aleshia Ocasio visited the PIFBS warehouse in December of 2020, and helped generate softball donations for PIFBS in January 2021 with a social media campaign. Aleshia’s outreach helped generate donations of hundreds of dollars worth of softball gear plus monetary contributions that will go to help under-resourced communities develop their softball programs.
Ocasio is an advocate for voting rights and social justice, and works to raise awareness of inequality on and off the field. A former standout at the University of Florida, Ocasio has pitched professionally for the USSSA Pride, Chicago Bandits, and Athletes Unlimited.
In 2016, then-Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Alex Cobb wanted to send baseball equipment to troops overseas in honor of his brother, who serves in the Army. Cobb reached out to PIFBS, and together with Wilson Sporting Goods we were able to send 20 team kits of gear to soldiers at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.
Cobb has played 10 seasons of Major League Baseball for the Rays, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Angels.
A former 7th round draft pick of the Miami Marlins, Anfernee Seymour played six seasons of professional baseball between the Marlins and Atlanta Braves organizations, including 103 games for the Double-A Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp in 2019.
In 2018, Seymour worked with two-time softball Olympian Natasha Watley to deliver baseball and softball equipment and hold instructional clinics for kids in the Bahamas. The first annual Anfernee Seymour Charity Baseball Clinic was held on December 1st and 2nd, with 80 youth players age 9-17. The clinics featured sections for beginners, intermediate, and seasoned players, with drills on everything from catching the ball to situational plays.
A native of Nassau, Bahamas, Seymour continued the project along with Watley in January 2020, helping Freedom Farm Little League to expand. The equipment distributed from PIFBS to the Bahamas that year was valued at nearly $6,000, including gloves, baseball and softball bats, and batting tees.
Three-time Olympic medalist Crystl Bustos was a Pitch In For Softball Advisory Board Member, helping key the creation of PIFBS’ original softball arm. In 2018, Bustos generously connected PIFS to Triple Crown Sports, which hosts the largest softball tournament in the world each year in Denver, Colorado.
Thanks to Bustos, PIFS and Triple Crown teamed up to host one of our first ever softball-centered collection drives at the 2018 Sparkler Tournament, with more than 90- teams in attendance. Bustos assisted with this event, and has helped spread awareness of PIFBS through giveaways on her social media platforms.
In December of 2020, Bustos sent us a donation of cleats, pants, gloves, and a catcher’s helmet. The world record holder for home runs during an Olympic series now owns and operates Ruthless Sports Training.
The former National League batting champion, Gold Glove winner, and two-time All-Star teamed up with PIFBS, Wilson Sporting Goods, SafeSpace, and the Jackie Robinson Training Complex to hold a drive-through equipment event and clinic on January 30, 2021 in Vero Beach, Florida.
The drive-through portion helped provide baseball gear to 115 children, followed by a socially distanced clinic for 20 kids from Vero Beach RBI and the domestic violence shelter SafeSpace.
Strange-Gordon handed out packs of gear provided by PIFBS and Wilson, and interacted with the children as their cars passed through. The drive-through was followed by an hour-long clinic, where Strange-Gordon taught basic baseball skills through soft toss and various stations, and spent one-on-one time working with the participants.
With masks and social distancing, Strange-Gordon was able to safely create positivity and hope for local children through the game of baseball during challenging times.
“I just want to inspire them to do whatever it is that they want to do great. It doesn’t have to be baseball, they can take my story and go be the best doctor ever if they want to be,” Strange-Gordon says. “I just want to let them know to be inspired to do something.”
In 2017, the big league right-hander worked with PIFBS to support Chiqui Mejias Academy in Bonao, Dominican Republic.
Betances grew up in Manhattan, but up until his early teens he would spend his summers in Santiago, Dominican Republic, where his parents are from. Betances collaborated with PIFBS, Wilson Sporting Goods, Nike, and Papa John’s to help nearly 100 children in the small town of Bonao to receive the equipment needed to play ball.
Betances and partners equipped kids with brand-new Wilson A500 gloves, Nike baseball cleats, New Era Yankees caps, and T-shirts with Betances’ silhouette on the front and his No. 68 on the back.
Between PIFBS, Wilson, Nike, and New Era, more than $30,000 worth of equipment was donated to the cause.
In 2015 when Don Mattingly was the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pitch In For Baseball Baseball & Softball launched its partnership with the Dodgers organization. Mattingly at the time had a baseball bat company, which he was looking to liquidate. As a result, Mattingly donated equipment to PIFBS, and PIFBS supported the launch of Mattingly RBI (now called Evansville RBI) along with Mattingly Charities. Mattingly Charities provides support to organizations who administer educational advancement, social development, and athletic programs for underserved youth in the Evansville, IN community.
Mattingly played 14 seasons of Major League Baseball – all with the New York Yankees – from 1982-1995. He was a six-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner, and 1985 American League MVP. Mattingly is currently the manager of the Miami Marlins.
Jimmy Rollins, a longtime Philadelphia Phillies shortstop and 2007 National League MVP, became interested in assisting youth baseball in Uganda after seeing a documentary about the sport’s growth in the country. Rollins traveled to Uganda and funded the the Pearl of Africa Series between the Ugandan Little Leaguers and a Canadian Little League team in January, 2012.
PIFBS had been supporting Uganda Little League for five years at that point, providing the equipment for teams to form and for more kids to have the opportunity to play the game. Rollins went on to make two donations to PIFBS and filmed a PSA in 2015 to encourage others to get involved.
As a teenager in 2013, Logan O’Hoppe did a collection project in his hometown of Sayville, NY and brought the donated the equipment he received to PIFBS warehouse in Pennsylvania.
O’Hoppe was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies five years later and is now a minor league catcher in the Phillies organization. O’Hoppe took the time to join our webcast and reflect back on his donation project as he prepared for the 2021 season.
San Francisco Giants’ player Mauricio Dubon worked with PIFBS in 2017, 2018, and 2019 to distribute much-needed gear to kids in his home country, Honduras.
The first donation included five team kits with gloves, baseballs, catchers gear, and helmets. Then a member of the Milwaukee Brewers’ minor league system, Dubon returned the following year to provide more than $2,000 worth of equipment to more than 100 kids in Liga Roberto Valenzuela in Honduras.
Dubon went on to make his Major League debut in 2019, becoming the first native Honduran to ever reach the Major Leagues.
In 2020 Dubon joined our PIFBS Webcast and spoke about his experience with baseball as a kid and his mission to help grow the game in Honduras.
Two-time Olympian and former National Pro Fastpitch player Natasha Watley was a member of the PIFS Softball Advisory Committee and has partnered with PIFBS on several projects in recent years.
In 2018, PIFBS contributed nearly $50,000 worth of equipment to the Natasha Watley Foundation to help provide a quality softball experience for under-resourced girls in the Los Angeles area. The project helped lead to the creation of eight additional softball teams and provided updated gear for 22 more teams in the league, which was run by the Natasha Watley Foundation and the City of Los Angeles. Teams received a variety of equipment including softballs, bats, helmets, gloves, team bags, and more.
That same year, Watley and minor league baseball player Anfernee Seymour worked together with PIFBS to bring baseball and softball equipment to kids in the Bahamas and held instructional clinics for children on the island. Watley, whose mother is from the Bahamas, helped distribute more than 200 pieces of equipment among children who participated.
In January of 2020, Watley and Seymour returned to Nassau, Bahamas for a second installment of the project, offering skills training and donated gear from PIFBS to help Freedom Farm Little League expand.
Former professional baseball player and Hawaii native Shane Komine reached out to PIFBS in 2019 for help with an equipment grant for the Kahului Giants Organization located in Wailuku, Hawaii. Komine hoped to expand the game on the island, where access is limited. PIFBS sent a combination of new and gently-used catchers gear, baseballs, cleats, and more for eight teams in the Kahului Giants organization, helping more than 250 kids get the equipment they needed to play ball.
Komine was a 9th round draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2002, and played seven seasons of professional baseball, including four games at the Major League level.