Baseball teams can train, raise money at Elizabeth hit-a-thon event – Tribune-Review
Mark Rice had an idea.
The Brentwood native and Jefferson Hills resident is the owner of In Motion Performance, a South Hills-based baseball training organization.
After watching many community and scholastic sports teams see their funding get trimmed amid the budget cuts of recent years, he wanted to do something to help teams raise money for their programs and their communities overall.
That’s why Rice has organized a charity Ã¢â¬œHit-a-ThonÃ¢â¬ï¿½ to be held Oct. 11 at Court Time Sports Center in Elizabeth.
Ã¢â¬œThe goal is to raise money to positively impact the community,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ he said.
At the event, baseball teams of all levels Ã¢â¬” from Little League on up to collegiate clubs Ã¢â¬” are invited to participate. Teams of up to 30 players can register for $495, or individual players can sign up for $25.
Players then face 10 pitches apiece at the batting facility at Court Time Sports Center, all under the eye of Rice and his instructors.
The participants will seek sponsors, and the money raised is tracked online, then donated to a community charitable cause of the team’s choosing Ã¢â¬” as well as to the team’s booster club or operating budget.
Ã¢â¬œYou see budgets getting slashed, Ã¢â¬˜pay to play’ programs, and things like that, so we wanted to do something to help teams be able to play,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Rice said. Ã¢â¬œWe see a need, and we’re trying to help offset the financial burdens that school districts and community leagues are facing.
Ã¢â¬œAnd you can make an impact in your community in more ways than on the field. We wanted this to also raise money for a charitable cause beyond the team.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
The Keystone Oaks High School baseball team was the first to register. The players will be raising funds for the family of a fallen serviceman from within the Keystone Oaks community, as well as for the Golden Eagles team.
Ã¢â¬œThe charitable cause has to be something from the community, not a national cause,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Rice said. Ã¢â¬œA team can make the biggest impact in the community when they select a cause from right in the community. Keystone Oaks jumped aboard. They’re rallying around this cause.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
Rice, a 1997 Brentwood graduate, participated in track and swimming in high school. He attended Pitt where he earned an undergraduate degree in movement science and athletic training.
He then went on to earn his master’s in sports medicine at Pitt in 2003.
While in grad school, Rice worked closely with the Pitt baseball team in a sports medicine role. It was during that time that he was drawn specifically to the sport of baseball.
Ã¢â¬œThat’s when I fell in love with the baseball body, how the arm interconnects, and what needs to be done to stay healthy,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ he said.
He went on to work in sports medicine at Temple for five years, again working closely with the university’s baseball team. He has since moved back to Pittsburgh and, last October, opened In Motion Performance.
Ã¢â¬œI always wanted to work with local athletes, conditioning them and getting them back on the field,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ he said.
Rice and his four-person staff are dedicated to working with players in all aspects of baseball, from hitting, pitching and fielding skills, to sports conditioning and training.
Additionally, In Motion Performance works with local tutoring and counseling organizations to help athletes with off-the-field challenges as well.
Ã¢â¬œWe wanted to give teams the resources that a Division I college baseball team would have,Ã¢â¬ï¿½ Rice said. Ã¢â¬œIf a kid is having problems in the classroom, let’s get him in to see someone who can help before he’s academically ineligible.Ã¢â¬ï¿½
Brian Knavish is a freelance writer.