For Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) baseball players, being part of the team extends beyond playing games to being year-round ambassadors for their school and their sport.
"The Colonials Baseball Team is not just about playing on the field," said PWHS Junior Brett Bottinger. "We're about being a positive change in our community."
Building the team during the offseason
One way the players give back to their community, while encouraging conditioning in the offseason, is through running 5Ks as a group. The boys have participated in the Brad Fox Memorial 5K the past two years, ran the Miles 4 Music 5K to help raise money for the PWHS Music Abroad program and served as volunteers for the Colonial School District 5K in 2016.
After Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas in the fall of 2017, the team collected t-shirts in September to send to Houston for a clothing drive coordinated by University of Houston's head men's basketball coach Kelvin Sampson.
Inspiring the next generation of players
At their annual free Little League Skills Day in April, members of the team work directly with more than 65 young baseball players to improve the children's pitching, hitting and defense. In June, the team also works with the coaches to host a five-day summer camp.
"I went to camp when I was younger, and I remember looking up to the players there," said PWHS Junior Anthony Tomassetti. "I appreciate the opportunity to be a leader to the kids. I like how we can affect those kids' lives and help them become better baseball players. It's a fun time, too."
"We do it for the kids, but it's also our way of being ambassadors for baseball," added Coach Chris Manero, who enjoys watching the players come full circle to teach the new generation.
Finding opportunities during the season
The PWHS Colonials Baseball Team also recognizes different causes during the season, like the Lace Up 4 Pediatric Cancer challenge that they do each year with the Upper Dublin Cardinals. Both teams raise money and wear yellow shoelaces for the game to support finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
"It's amazing what the strength of an organization can do for a community. These actions show the team that a little work by each member of a group can make a large impact right in their own backyard," said Coach Manero. "It's also important for the guys not to part ways at the end of the season and simply come back together every March. In many cases, it's the times off the field that they'll remember the most."