The Atlanta Braves established a long term partnership with Daniel H. Stanton Elementary dating back to 2004. D.H. Stanton is located just around the corner from Turner Field in the Peoplestown neighborhood. Each year, we meet with faculty and staff to plan activities in an effort to motivate, reward, and improve the quality of education for the students. We specifically target the areas of reading, physical activity, decreasing absenteeism and increasing parent participation.
We enjoyed planning a variety of activities for the students, teachers, and parents throughout the school year. In the spring, we welcomed the graduating 5th grade class to Turner Field for lunch, a tour of the stadium, and a chance to sharpen their batting and pitching skills in Scout’s Alley. Daphne Lipson, an outstanding 4th grader, was recognized prior to the Braves vs. Oakland Athletics game during the Chick-fil-A All Star Student Achiever presentation for academic excellence. Additionally, we surprised the staff with breakfast and tickets to a Braves game during Staff Appreciation Week.
To kick off the 2014-15 school year, the Braves and Delta Air Lines employees joined forces for a “Braves Give” Saturday community volunteer project and assisted teachers in preparing their classrooms for the first day of school. The volunteers designed and decorated bulletin boards throughout the school, worked with the teachers to organize books and folders, cleaned classrooms, and created welcome back goodie bags for more than 200 students.
Our support for the students and teachers continued through our partnership with Arrow Exterminators as we hosted a school supplies drive at Turner Field and at local Arrow Exterminators locations. Together our staff created gift baskets with the items collected and delivered them to the classrooms. Each classroom was gifted with items including staplers, paper, pencils, folders, erasers, glue, crayons, markers, calculators, and much more. Our staff volunteers delivered the baskets to each classroom and took time to read to the younger students and talked to the 4th and 5th graders about college and careers.
In an effort to engage the parents, we are partnering with Goodwill of North Georgia to host a Career Workshop on November 5th. The workshop participants will receive guidance on resume building, interviewing skills, and professional image enhancement.
Over the years, we have truly enjoyed our partnership with D.H. Stanton Elementary and we are always thinking of creative and unique ways to give back to youth in the Turner Field community. Through the Braves staff, players, fans and our corporate partners like Delta Air Lines and Arrow Exterminators we were able to make an impact and look forward to continuing this tradition for many years to come!
The Atlanta Braves Foundations is committed to giving back to the community. Since its establishment in 1992, the Braves Foundation has provided support to thousands of Atlanta-based organizations and has contributed more than $5.6 million in monetary and in-kind assistance to the community.
We raise these funds through various fundraisers during the season such as 50/50 Raffle, Foundation Weekend, silent auctions, online auctions, golf tournaments and luncheons. It’s because of our Braves fans, players and sponsors supporting all of these activities, that we are able to make a significant donation back into the community.
At the beginning of each Braves season, we invite non-profit organizations to apply for our annual grants program to receive funding to assist in their outreach efforts. The applicants must be youth-serving organizations that support education, recreation, and health initiatives. The process is very competitive, as there are so many great organizations in the area that are in need of funding.
During the last week of the season, the Braves Foundation awarded more than $300,000 in grants to 40 deserving organizations. This funding will support initiatives including after-school programs, health and wellness initiatives, anti-bullying campaigns, athletic programs just to name a few. Take a few minutes to read about our 2014 Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant Recipients.
- Alive Ministries will purchase and donate food and toiletries to children and families in need within the Cobb County School District.
- Anti-Defamation League Southeast Region will use funds to support the “No Place for Hate” anti-bullying initiative.
- Boys & Girls Club of Metro Atlanta will integrate healthy living values into an edible landscape community garden at Anderson Boys & Girls Club.
- Camp Sunshine will enrich the lives of Georgia’s children with cancer and their families through year round recreational, educational and support programs.
- Center for Children & Young Adults will provide funding for bed frames and dressers for Another Chance, a 20 bed youth shelter.
- Center for Working Families will provide arts, beautification and education projects for parent and child living in neighborhood planning unit V.
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta will purchase motion analysis equipment to help prevent injuries in young athletes.
- Christian Aid Mission Partnership will provide backpacks filled with school supplies to needy families in Cobb County.
- CHRIS Kids will provide Trauma kits to relieve stress for children in traumatic situations.
- City of Refuge will provide nutrition education, dance, and soccer to 50 homeless and at risk youth.
- Cobb Alcohol Taskforce will utilize peer leadership support and training to curb underage drinking through the Cobb Youth Rise program.
- Cobb Health Futures Foundation will support the media smart youth program that educates youth on media, physical activity and nutrition.
- Cobb Library Foundation will build designated teen centers for youth ages 12-19 to read, study and meet.
- Cobb Police Athletic League will provide registration fees, uniforms and equipment for youth.
- Cobb County Public Schools Education Foundation will focus on college-readiness preparation by proving tutorial and counseling for SAT/ACT exams and college planning during an after-school enrichment program.
- Community Advanced Practices Nurses will provide healthcare for homeless and low-income children.
- CURE Childhood Cancer – will fund the Open Arms program that provides patients and family services for children with cancer.
- East Lake Foundation will support the Charles R. Drew after-school program.
- Everybody Wins! Atlanta will provide a reading power lunch for students and volunteers at Dunbar Elementary School.
- Foster Siblings Reunited, Inc. will provide summer camp opportunities for siblings who have been separated in foster care the system.
- Fragile Kids Foundation will provide specialized medical equipment for children with disabilities.
- Girls on the Run of Atlanta will provide scholarships for young girls to participate in running programs that also focus on healthy lifestyles and nutrition.
- Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation will help fund the WOW! Program which provides memorable vacations for families dealing with cancer.
- Latin American Association will fund a program that helps Latino youth succeed in school and advance to higher education.
- L.E.A.D. will support the organization’s year-round baseball and life-skills development program for middle and high school students in Atlanta.
- Kamp Kizzy will support the Kamp Kizzy summer camp mentoring initiative for teen girls.
- Kutz for Kids will provide after school mentoring support for middle and high school students.
- Lutheran Services of Georgia will provide basic necessities to set up homes for refugee children.
- Make-A-Wish Georgia will grant special wish experiences to children with life threatening illnesses.
- Marietta Police Athletic League will provide ports clinics and transportation for disadvantaged youth to participate in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, golf, tennis, volleyball, martial arts.
- Marietta YELLS will launch a community library support healthy living through monthly teen-led community dinners.
- Muscular Dystrophy Association will fund medical supplies and costs for children to attend MDA Summer Camps.
- National Coalition of 100 Black Women, NW Georgia will support the High School to Heels program for teen girls.
- Special Olympics Georgia will help offset costs for youth to attend the Special Olympic Georgia State games.
- Ten Women of Hope will provide emergency assistance for single women with children including rent, utilities, medication, car repairs or other basic needs.
- The Brian Jordan Foundation will support Camp Jordan, a free baseball clinic for more than 200 disadvantaged children.
- Tomorrow’s Champion will provide opportunities for girls to learn the fundamentals of softball and life skills.
- Urban League of Greater Atlanta will award college scholarship opportunities to high school students.
- Villages of Carver Family YMCA will use funds to support the youth baseball initiatives at the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Academy.
- YWCA of Northwest Georgia, Inc. will provide summer camp opportunities for children of domestic violence victims.
As you can see, there are so many great programs out there that will benefit a lot deserving children. We are proud to be a part of making an impact in the lives of so many people. Congratulations to all of our 2014 Braves Foundation Grantees!
If your organization is interested in receiving funding through the Atlanta Braves Foundation Grant program, please visit braves.com/grants in April, 2015 to apply.
During our annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day Celebration in September we presented the Diamond of Hope Award to five empowering women who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer and have assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle. We will be highlighting these incredible ladies throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month and sharing their stories with you.
Diana Galloway from Fayetteville, Georgia was kind enough to answer some questions for us in a recent interview and provide us with several photos taken throughout her courageous journey. Read more about Diana below:
Name: Diana Galloway
Occupation: Retired Flight Attendant
Where in the world are you the happiest? My parents are from Barbados, West Indies. I feel so connected to my heritage when I am there amongst my ancestors. It is so calm, relaxing and everyone is happy. It is known as the happiest island in the world.
What is one thing that you wish everyone knew? I have always wanted to be Oprah Winfrey’s best friend. Secretly in my head, I am.
What do you do in your spare time? I love to cook, travel, plan family time and enjoy a good comedy movie and some popcorn. I travel some when I am not so busy saving the world.
Where are you from? I was born in Manchester England and grew up Brooklyn, New York
When were you diagnosed: November 11, 2011
Who has been your biggest support system through your journey? My husband was there every step of the way. He changed bandages, drained my tubes and even carried my purse. He would sit in the waiting room and joke with the other husbands about having to carry their wives handbags. His sister even wrote a beautiful poem about him called the Purse Carrier. Alongside my husband was my children and grandchildren. I had to keep a brave front for them because I could see the fear on their faces.
What kept (or keeps) you going through this period? Staying busy with establishing the Atlanta Southern Region of Sisters Network and my quest to making sure no woman has to go through this journey alone. Everyone kept telling me that I needed to rest and take it easy, but doubt, fear and depression would consume me. I had to stay busy and focused. After my first of 10 surgeries, I opened a thrift store which was the beginning of my ministry to help and serve women. I met so many survivors who needed help, and I was constantly giving them some type of assistance. So then, I came up with a way to do something that could provide assistance to women in treatment who needed financial assistance.
Your favorite inspirational quote? “People will forget what you do, people will forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel.” -Maya Angelou
How have you grown during your journey? I’ve learned that life can change for you in the blink of an eye. No matter what happens, you cannot let your emotions get in the way. Don’t take it personal. God puts you through situations to teach you, so you can grow and learn.
Do you have any inspirational words of advice for others going through recovery? It could always be worse. God saves his toughest battles for his strongest soldiers. Fight with all your might.
Diana truly is a soldier in the fight against Breast Cancer. She is the president of the Atlanta Southern Region affiliate Chapter of Sisters Network, Inc., an organization committed to increasing local and national attention to the devastating impact that breast cancer has in the African American community. She works every day to support those going through similar battles that she once fought. Diana is one of five honorees of the Diamond of Hope Award, all whom we will be highlighting this month as we honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Atlanta Braves teamed up with the Miracle League to give a very special group of children the chance to rub elbows with “big leaguers” during batting practice every Monday during baseball season – also known as “Miracle League Monday.”
The Miracle League provides unique opportunities for children with disabilities to play baseball, regardless of their abilities by removing barriers that keep them off the baseball field and lets them experience the joy of America’s favorite pastime.
During every Monday home game, we hosted Miracle League families from all over Braves Country during batting practice and allowed them the opportunity to watch the Braves players warm up and get ready for that evening’s game.
Upon their arrival, each family was greeted with goody bags filled with Braves swag and escorted on a short tour of ballpark before heading down to the field for batting practice. Our special guests observed batting practice from a VIP area where they enjoyed an inside look at some of their favorite professional athletes prepare for the game. With this exclusive access, the families were able to take photos, get autographs from their favorite players and in some cases, take home game used equipment that was personally given to them by some of the Braves superstars. You can probably imagine the excitement felt not only by the child, but the entire family.
At the end of their batting practice experience, the families headed up to their seats where they were able to enjoy the game and magic of Turner Field.
Thank you to all of our Miracle League Families that participated this year! We look forward to meeting more of the inspiring Miracle League athletes during the 2015.
Every year, we celebrate the lives of breast cancer survivors during the annual Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day presented by Wellstar Health System and Kroger. On Sunday, September 21, over 250 courageous and brave survivors helped us paint the park pink during a very special day at the ballpark.
Our survivors started arriving early that Sunday morning to the ballpark to check-in and receive their tickets, a pink Breast Cancer Awareness Day shirt, and their fabulous satin survivor sash. To further promote this initiative, American Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer distributed information to Braves fans about breast cancer screening and detection. Additionally, members of GSU’s Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority gave out pink ribbons to the fans at the gates. Many new friendships were made that day as some survivors came with their support groups and some even attended by themselves.
Once checked-in, all survivors along with their family and friends entered the gates and made their way to the Breast Cancer Survivor Celebration reception. More than 500 guests enjoyed complimentary snacks and refreshments and the opportunity to fellowship with one another.
At the reception, survivors got the chance to hear some encouraging words from our guest speaker and host Lauren Hudson. Lauren is an Emmy winning reporter, motivational speaker and a breast cancer survivor. Not only was Lauren entertaining, but she was very honest as she talked about her battle with breast cancer, she was uplifting and delivered an inspiring message filled with optimism. Lauren even led everyone in a round of Take Me Out To The Ballgame!
Laura Taylor, Breast Nurse Navigator with WellStar Health Systems and Shari Henning with EVP with American Cancer Society’s South Atlantic Division also shared words of encouragement.
The most anticipated part of the reception was the announcement of the Diamond of Hope award winners. This extremely coveted award honors survivors who have engaged in the fight against breast cancer or assisted other survivors through their difficult struggle. With the help of the Braves Wives, we selected 5 incredible women from all over Braves Country who were nominated by friends and family. The winners were: Kathi Shephard of Lexington, South Carolina, Diana Galloway of Fayettville, GA, Stacy Franklin of Jonesboro, GA, Maggie Davis of Roswell, GA, and Juanita Williams of Decatur, GA. These five lovely ladies all received beautiful award momentos presented by Braves pitcher Craig Kimbrel, who came to the reception to spend a moment with all of the survivors.
Once the reception came to a close, it was time for the most exciting part of the day, the survivor “Walk in the Park” and on field balloon release! All decked out in pink, the survivors marched down to the field, received pink balloons and were then led onto the field by the Braves wives including, Tia Johnson, Anahi Peña, Leanna Floyd, Ashley Kimbrel, Nikki Russell, Gabriella Perez, Mariana Materan, Lisa Mendez. The survivors lined the outfield while the members of Zeta created a human breast cancer awareness ribbon around the pitcher’s mound, as a symbol of hope that a cure will be found and to remind the fans the importance of early detection. On the count of three, everyone released the pink balloons into the air. As you can imagine, there were a lot of hugs, cheers and even tears both on the field and in the stands.
This event brings inspiring women, and even men, from all over Braves Country to Turner Field every year for one purpose; to bring awareness to a life-altering disease that thousands of people struggle with every day. We were so honored to have the survivors with us on this special day to celebrate their survivorship. We wish all of our participants happiness and the best of health in their journeys and we look forward to see each and every one of them again next year!
Learn more about our Diamond of Hope Winners as we highlight them in upcoming blog posts during Breast Cancer Awareness month!
It was a clear, crisp morning on Saturday, September 20 as 14 of the best Minor League players from the Braves organization took the field at East Marietta Little League at Sewell Park in Cobb County. About 60 youth baseball players were there and ready to learn hitting, fielding, and base running from these “Future Stars.” The 14 Braves Minor Leaguers were chosen as the best pitchers and hitters from each league leading up to the Major League Atlanta Braves (from Dominican Summer League, to Rookie ball, all the way through the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves). As part of the weekend festivities for the players, they volunteered their Saturday morning to teach young ballplayers many of the skills that led them to where they are today.
The clinic was split into four stations: hitting, infield work, base running, and outfield work. There were 3-4 players at each station, which gave ample instruction to each group of 15 ballplayers. By the end of the clinic – not only were the young ballplayers worn out, but so were the Minor Leaguers!
Once the clinic ended – everyone gathered back on the main field for a group photo. Then came a nice surprise, autographs! We set up an autograph station for all the participants to get signatures from the “Future Stars.” A gift bag with a Braves t-shirt, a Braves sticker, and a Braves hat was also given to each participant. Many of these “Future Stars” will be on the Major League roster in a few years, so this was a great opportunity to meet and learn from the guys now.
Following the clinic, Tim Givens, East Marietta Little League President, responded with a really nice note about the event. “What a great day! Thank you so much for giving our park such an incredible experience! I know the kids will be talking about it for a really long time.” Tim was such a great host and helped us in organizing this awesome day for East Marietta Little League and our Minor League players. We all really enjoyed it!
This is the fourth year that we have been able to host a community event as part of our Minor League Future Stars awards celebration. Some of the other events included feeding the homeless and visiting a children’s hospital.
Thankful to be able to give back to the community, the players really enjoyed their experience interacting with the youngsters. Ronnie Richardson, Director of Minor League Operations, had this to say about the clinic, “Thank you for organizing a great community event for our Minor League Players. The overall experience for our players was great and they truly enjoyed interacting with the fans. Our goal is not only to develop good baseball players, but also to develop players that have a desire to give back to the community when they have the opportunity.”
Below are the Minor League award winners for 2014 that participated in the clinic.
- Jason Hursh – Mississippi Braves
- Williams Perez – Mississippi Braves
- Nate Hyatt – Lynchburg Hillcats
- Yean Carlos Gil – Rome Braves
- Alec Grosser – Danville Braves
- Jorge Zavala – Gulf Coast League
- Dilmer Mejia – Dominican Summer League
- Jose Peraza – Mississippi Braves
- Kyle Kubitza – Mississippi Braves
- Kyle Wren – Lynchburg Hillcats
- Jake Schrader – Rome Braves
- Ozhaino Albies – Danville Braves
- Alejandro Salazar – Dominican Summer League
Look for these outstanding young men to be with the Atlanta Braves in the near future!
Christmas arrived early this year, when the Atlanta Braves players, coaches, and the Braves Wives along with front office members, spread holiday cheer at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Scottish Rite. This is a favorite event for our organization in which we take time to visit with children and their families, and distribute toys collected during the Braves Wives Toy Drive.
Each year, the Braves Wives host a Toy Drive prior to a Braves baseball game and invite fans to donate toys that are used for this particular event. The Toy Drive was a huge success this season and it gave all the children at CHOA a toy to call their own. Fans who donated were entered into a raffle to receive autographed items signed by current Braves players.
Braves Manager Fredi Gonzalez, Coach Roger McDowell, Braves players Tyler Pastornicky, Shae Simmons, Chasen Shreve, David Hale, Justin Upton and his fiancé, Craig Kimbrel and his wife, Alex Wood and his girlfriend, Gus Schlosser and his girlfriend, Leanna Floyd, wife of Braves pitcher Gavin Floyd spent the morning visiting kids room to room.
The players, coaches, and wives split into groups each with a little red wagon full of toys. For many of the children staying at CHOA having a sense of normalcy is difficult because of the treatment they receive depending on their conditions. The players and coaches greeted the families, the wives presented the toys, and the group posed for photos.
After making their rounds in the hospital, the players made a final stop at the Fun Zone where they surprised a group of eager Braves fans who heard the rumors of some special guests in the hospital. The Fun Zone is a kid’s dream play space filled with video games, board games, arts & crafts, and an outdoor mini court. The Braves front office staff lead a special Braves arts & crafts project with the patients in the Zone before they were surprised by their favorite Braves players.
The excitement in the room could not be contained, as the players and coaches mingled with the kids, signing autographs, and playing games. The parents and staff were grateful that indeed Christmas arrived early for their little ones.
Thank you to all of our Braves players, coaches, wives, and front office staff for making this visit a memorable one for all these kids!
The Braves Wives invited 25 special military moms-to-be to Turner Field recently for an unforgettable baby shower to help them celebrate their upcoming journey into motherhood.
Thanks to Lennie Rubin with United Military Care, Inc. we were able to invite ladies from military bases all over the state of Georgia including Ft. Stewart, Ft. Benning, Robbins Air Force, Ft. Gordon and Georgia National Guard. Most of these women are married to brave men from different branches of the military, and two of our moms were both in the Navy. We also had one expectant mother give birth early and attend the shower with her five-day-old baby boy.
The eager young mothers and their guests arrived at Turner Field and were escorted to the 755 Club and directed into the private party where they were greeted by the Braves Wives and enjoyed a lavish buffet and beautiful three tier vanilla cake donated by Tommy Rhodes of Rhodes Family Bakery. The Braves Wives in attendance included Pam Gonzalez, Nikki Russell, Angie Fletcher, Theresa Tosca, Leanna Floyd, Ashley Kimbrel, Tia Johnson, Carman Walker and Gabriella Perez. Greer Howard, BravesVision host and a military wife/mom herself, served as emcee and Braves President John Schuerholz addressed the men and women in attendance, thanked them for their service to our country, and congratulated them on the pending arrival of their babies.
As they anxiously awaited the start of the shower, we wasted no time in getting the games started by asking each attendee to guess the number of diaper pins in the baby bottle. Each shower game had many great prizes at stake donated from wonderful companies, which brought out the competitive side in everyone.
First on the agenda was a baby word search and a celebrity baby name game. Winners were rewarded lovely gift bags filled with necessities to get them through the first few months of motherhood. Some of the prizes included Pediped baby footwear and giftcards, delightful luxury European Pacapod baby bags, and the cutest little baby wetsuit by Konfidence USA.
Next, Pam Gonzalez led the expectant mothers in a game where they were asked to guestimate how much toilet paper it would take to go around the mommy-to-be’s pregnant bellies. This game got a few husbands in trouble. The winner of this game walked away with the coveted Babyhome Eat highchair.
Next, the ladies joined the Braves Wives in a circle of chairs to play a baby shower favorite, “Pass the Dirty Diaper.” They passed around a diaper filled with chocolate pudding, to the rules of hot potato. When the music stopped, the woman holding the dirty diaper was removed from the game. As the circle got smaller, the competition got more heated and eventually dwindled down to two ladies. After the last round, a winner was named and she walked away with a Naturalmat Coco Mat crib mattress valued at $400.
In-between all of the fun shower games and activities, there were many raffle prizes to be won. All of the moms and theirs guests got the chance to win awesome prizes such as assorted items from MAM USA such as pacifiers, baby bottles and teethers as well as autographed Braves memorabilia.
Finally, the winner who guessed the correct number of diaper pins in the baby bottle at check-in was revealed and received a Duux Air Humidifier.
To round out the festivities, the Braves Wives presented each mom with large gift baskets filled with everything they will need to get them through the first couple of months after the babies are born. The gifts inside these beautiful baskets included: B.Box travel bibs and diaper wallets, Silikids silibibs, MAM feed and soothe bottle gift sets and pacifiers, Honest Company arrival sets, Target and Babies’R’Us gift cards purchases by the Braves Wives, Baby Blanket music CDs, Brian James Footwear giftcards, Konfidence baby swimwear and roll and go baby changers, and scrumptious chocolate chip cookies provided by Sensational Baskets and multiple boxes of Huggies diapers and wipes. Many of these gifts were secured through Hilary Abbott, CEO of Hilary Abbott Communications, Inc. and high profile publicist. You can find many of her clients in publications like People Magazine!
The shower ended just in time for some Braves baseball! The women and their guests all left their goodies with us while they enjoyed the magic of Turner Field. Overwhelmed with gratitude and all of their new precious goodies, the ladies were all very appreciative as they anticipate the new additions to their families.
This event was very successful in large part to the Braves Wives and our amazing partners who donated tons of great items for us to use as raffle prizes and gift basket goodies. A big thank you to our donors:
- Atlanta Braves Wives
- Hilary Abbott Communications, Inc.
- United Military Care, Inc.
- Huggies http://www.huggies.com/
- b.box http://bbox.com.au/
- Babyhome http://www.babyhome.es/us/en
- Duux http://duux.com/
- MAM http://www.mambaby.com/us/
- Naturalmat http://www.naturalmatusa.com/
- Silikids http://www.silikids.com/
- Pacapod http://www.pacapod.com/
- Pediped http://www.pediped.com/
- Konfidence http://www.konfidence-usa.com
- Baby Blanket Music http://www.babyblanketmusic.com/
- Brian James Footwear http://www.brianjamesfootwear.com/
- Sensational Baskets http://www.sensationalbaskets.com/
The 6th Annual Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic presented by Bank of America was recently held over Labor Day Weekend, August 29th-31st at Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA.
The annual Youth Baseball Classic hosted teams from all across the southeast: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Tennessee. In total, there were 72 teams, with 9 age divisions (6U-16U) and 8 teams in each division. Each team was guaranteed to play three games over the weekend.
To enhance everyone’s Braves experience, all teams got the chance to take a team photo with Braves 3rd Baseman Chris Johnson. They also received an official Braves Youth Classic t-shirts, gift bags, tickets to Braves vs. Marlins game on the second day of the classic, as well as a chance to participate in the pre-game parade around the warning track.
The Braves Youth Baseball Classic was created to expand our reach and impact on youth baseball throughout the Southeast. The tournament is designed to give young baseball players a unique experience, a chance to meet a Braves player and attend a Braves game at Turner Field.
Play started on Friday night under the lights. The fields played host to the 7U, 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, 13U and 16U divisions. From the crack of the first bat, you could feel the excitement of each team as they fought for their first win. Three games were slated for Friday night in each division and the last games didn’t end until 11 p.m.
Saturday morning started early. The sun was barely up when the kids took the field. By 10am, the sun started to heat up the park and you could definitely tell summer was still in full swing, especially with all the baseball going on!
At noon on Saturday, all play stopped for the Welcome Ceremony. Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Derek Schiller welcomed the youth players, parents, and families. Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle addressed the crowd and welcomed everyone to Wills Park and the City of Alpharetta and Bank of America Managing Director Mark Adams was also on hand to address the teams. Welcomed by a roar of applause, Chris Johnson announced the nine lucky participants of that night’s on-field presentation at Turner Field. After the ceremony was over, each team had their chance to meet Chris and take a photo with him.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of teams finishing up their pool play games in hopes of being the highest seed possible for Sunday’s Championship Brackets. Once the last games were completed, the teams had a little time to go back to their hotels and get ready for the Braves game at Turner Field.
The on-field ceremony took place next with Bank of America Georgia President Geri Thomas and Chris Johnson. Both Chris and Geri congratulated each player by shaking their hands, presenting them with a medal. The following players were randomly selected to represent their age division.
6U – STEELE LICKLITER, PONTE VEDRA SHARKS, PONTE VEDRA, FL
7U – AVERY LEWIS, KNOXVILLE STIX, KNOXVILLE, TN
8U – COOPER DAVIS, KENNESAW GENERALS, KENNESAW, GA
9U – MICHAEL MARTINEZ, SOUTH GWINNETT RATTLERS, DECATUR, GA
10U – CANYON NEWMAN, BONECRUSHERS, BLOOMINGDALE, GA
11U – JAKE ROWELL, DIRT DOBBERS, HAZLEHURST, GA
12U – DAKOTA CHASE BROOKING, NORTH GEORGIA MUDCATS, ROME, GA
13U – CORTEZ ROBERSON, G-A-T-A- WOLFPACK, LITHONIA, GA
16U – PEYTON PAGE, THE UNDERTAKERS, VIDALIA, GA
Congrats to each lucky winner!
The Braves vs. Marlins game that night provided a great experience for all the teams, coaches, and families in attendance. Many had never been to a Braves game before and thoroughly enjoyed it! During the game, many coaches and parents were anxious to find out their seed for the Sunday bracket portion of the tournament and at about 8:00pm, brackets were posted online at www.bravesyouthclassic.com.
Sunday started early again “under the lights.” The rest of the day, we inched closer towards the champion in each age division. The last game for the 16U Division did not end until 8:30pm but most of the other divisions finished somewhere around 7:00pm. Listed below is the list of champion teams and runner ups from each age division.
Congratulations to everyone that made it that far! It was a long road to get there!
6U CHAMPION – North Macon National All-Stars
RUNNER-UP – Canton Noles
7U CHAMPION – Canton Stingers
RUNNER-UP – Brookwood Knights
8U CHAMPION – Kennesaw Generals Blue
RUNNER-UP – Collins Hill Black Eagles
9U CHAMPION – South Gwinnett Rattlers
RUNNER-UP – Sandtown Red Sox
10U CHAMPION – SBA Canes
RUNNER-UP – Tri-County Athletics
11U CHAMPION – Powder Springs Indians
RUNNER-UP – Young Guns
12U CHAMPION – Full Throttle Baseball
RUNNER-UP – Swamp Donkeys
13U CHAMPION – Georgia Batmen
RUNNER-UP – D2E/RatedR
16U CHAMPION – SW 3Up 3Down
RUNNER-UP – Upstate Showcase Baseball
Congrats and a big THANK YOU to all of the teams that participated and made this tournament fun and competitive. The Braves, Wills Park, the City of Alpharetta and Turner Field enjoyed hosting you! We look forward to seeing you again next year!
To view footage shown on BravesVision from the Youth Baseball Classic, please click: http://www.bravesvision.com/ftp_root/send11/Youth%20Baseball%20Classic%208-31-14.mp4
The Atlanta Braves partnered with the Miracle League and the Fantasy Camp for Kids to host its 2nd annual Miracle League Fantasy camp. Both the Atlanta Braves and the Miracle League believe that “every child deserves to play baseball,” so one can imagine how excited both organizations were when the Baseball Fantasy Camp for Kids were interested in partnering for a second Fantasy Camp for the Miracle League players.
There were over 40 participants from Miracle League teams all over Braves Country from Atlanta to Valdosta to Macon. The Fantasy Camp was held at Hunter Memorial Park in Douglasville, GA
The participants arrived at the park in the morning and received their very own, personalized Atlanta Braves jerseys, goodie bags, and tickets to that evening’s Braves game. The players and their families were greeted by Mayor Harvey Persons who then introduced our special guests for the day, Braves pitchers David Hale and Shae Simmons, infielder Tommy La Stella and Homer the mascot.
The Fantasy Camp started off with stretching session led by the Braves players. Shortly afterwards, the Miracle Leaguers were split up into 4 four groups and rotated to different stations to work on various baseball skills. Braves infielder, Tommy La Stella, led the hitting station where participants hit from a tee on the pitcher’s mound into the fence behind homeplate. Braves pitcher, David Hale, led the fielding and catching stations where the participants worked on fielding ground balls and pop flys. Braves pitcher, Shae Simmons, led the throwing stations where he showed the Miracle Leaguers the proper technique to throwing a baseball.
To wrap up the camp, participants all lined up to run the bases before enjoying lunch.
The Fantasy Camp was a huge success and everyone involved from the Miracle Leaguers to the Braves players were able to enjoy an experience of a lifetime!!