By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
Asks for and receives exact amount for new equipment
(July 2, 2020) Berlin Little League was one of 18 Little League programs to receive a grant from the 2020 American Honda Motor Company Little League Grant Program.
Honda is an official sponsor of Little League Baseball and Softball.
Since it was established in 2001, the Little League Honda Grant program has donated more than $1.7 million to local leagues. This year, Honda invested $100,000 in donations.
Vice President of Baseball Operations Barb Kohut said Berlin Little League received $4,612.18.
“What was really awesome is what we applied for, they gave us the exact amount to the penny,” Kohut said.
Grant requests could not exceed $5,000.
According to littleleague.org, applications for the grant also had to contain supporting documentation for the league’s goals.
Equipment Manager Robert Smith applied for the grant, itemizing the request for updated equipment bags, updated catcher’s equipment, new batting helmets, baseballs, bats for Tee-ball teams and pitching machine teams as well as clay for pitching mounds.
“When you have a Little League season, you give each team a bag of equipment. That way, kids that don’t have their own equipment, there’s like common equipment that they can utilize,” Kohut said.
Kohut added that each team is provided two dozen baseballs.
According to Kohut, nearly 600 children ranging from ages 4 to 16 had registered to play for Tee-ball up to major leagues for the 2020 season.
There was a total of 33 rostered teams for this year, not including the intermediate, junior or senior teams.
“Traditionally, they start later in the season only because a lot of them are in high school and they have high school ball to finish,” Kohut said.
The Berlin Little League board of directors announced the cancellation of the season to protect players and fans on May 31 in a Facebook post.
The post also informed parents and fans that all the paid registrations for the 2020 season will be credited for next year, as well as all paid sponsorships.
“At the time that we had to cancel, we weren’t even in Phase Two of the recovery plan,” Kohut said.
In addition to CDC guidelines, Berlin Little League had to take direction from the Little League Baseball and Softball international level, the district level and the local level.
“Even in Phase Two, there were extreme restrictions,” Kohut said. “Kids had to wear masks in the dugout there, bags needed to be six feet apart, parents basically would have to be in their cars. You couldn’t utilize the bleachers … it wasn’t going to be, in our opinion, baseball or softball in a fun environment because of the restrictions.”
Although it is upsetting to lose an event in the community, Kohut said safety is the highest priority.
“This whole covid thing feels … like that rain delay that just won’t end,” she joked.
The board of directors is grateful for Honda’s generosity during these unprecedented times.
“Everything’s expensive for kids sports, so this can keep us from having to keep raising costs,” Kohut said.