MHS baseball receives grant for facilities upgrade

Published 4:02 pm Thursday, February 8, 2018

Maplesville’s baseball facilities are set to go through some upgrades in the coming years after receiving a grant from the Chris Hammond Youth Foundation on Feb. 6.

The initial grant is worth $5,000 with the option to revisit and continue over the next four years.

According to former major leaguer Chris Hammond, the goal of his foundation is to give a helping hand to schools in rural areas that may not have the financial availability to commit to improving athletic facilities.

Clay Entrekin is about to begin his first year as Maplesville’s head baseball coach, but he is already looking to the future and wants to build something special at the school. The grant money is a good first step.

“We’re going to try and make this place sparkle even more,” Entrekin said. “It’s really going to make a difference for our program.”

The plan in year one is to use it to improve the fencing around the field.

According to Entrekin, players take pride in their home field, which can lead to an extra sense of confidence in the way that they play.

During a game, players can often here the sounds of support from fans cheering them on, but when they look around and see changes to the facility, it is a visual sign of support.

“The product will always be on the field, but one of my goals is to make our facilities one of the nicer ones in this part of the state,” Entrekin said. “It really helps drive home the idea that we are in it for the long haul.”

Baseball is something that is all too familiar to Hammond, having played 18 years of professional baseball and 12 of those years in the majors.

Prior to the presentation of the grant check, Hammond spoke with the baseball team about stories from his time in MLB and as a young player trying to work his way up.

One of the messages that Hammond shared was the importance of God in the grand scheme of things.

He challenged each player to remember that they are representatives of God in everything that they do, and especially when they step onto a baseball field.

“Our society is so sports crazed, that it is a good avenue to go on if you want to spread the gospel,” Hammond said.