PHOENIX -- Nine-year-old Peyton Cue is a power hitter. On defense, shortstop is his favorite position. He and his fellow players from the South Scottsdale Little League love the game of baseball.
That’s why his mom, Sandra Cue, along with other South Scottsdale Little League organizers, reached out to another baseball league to the north for help keeping the kids out on the field.
Cue says 65 percent of the players in the South Scottsdale Little League are on the free and reduced lunch program, so most of the boys receive scholarships to play. However, Cue says even with the entry fees paid, many of the kids’ families cannot afford to buy their children a baseball glove, bat, batting helmet or cleats.
"It's just so hard. We're like the Little League that could," Cue said. "We are trying to do everything we can to keep this league going. The kids just want to play so bad. But it has just been horrible with all the sponsorships bowing out after the economic downturn."
Cue called on her neighbors to the north who play in the Scottsdale Cal Ripken Baseball League. Board member Tonya Terry said they were eager to step up to the plate and lend a helping hand.
"It was jaw-dropping once we started having this conversation about the need and how great it was and these guys are right at our back door and we had no idea," Terry said.
The league in North Scottsdale jumped into action and organized a baseball equipment drive, asking its players to go through their closets and garages and donate gently used baseball equipment, including gloves, helmets, bats, baseball pants, cleats and baseballs.
Terry’s husband, Evan Terry, is a coach in the Scottsdale Cal Ripken League. He and his wife say baseball is a great tool to teach important life lessons to their three boys, and this equipment drive is no exception.
"We can teach our children to help others," Evan said. "That will take these children a long way, make them great in our community, and fantastic people."
The Scottsdale Cal Ripken Baseball League says it will accept donations not only from its players, but also from others outside the league who want to drop off equipment. The inital collection day was cancelled because of rain.
The new collection day and location have been moved to this Saturday, December 7th. Collection bins will be set out from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone can drop off new or gently used baseball equipment at Aztec Park in Scottsdale. It's located on 100th Street, just south of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard.