Wednesday Jul 29 2009
Year-round baseball now in Lincoln
By: Brandon Darnell, News Messenger Reporter
Lincoln’s little leaguers no longer need to go to Roseville or Rocklin to play ball all year long. The Lincoln Brown Sox is a new organization just finishing its summer session, and signups for the fall session start Wednesday, according to Issac Mejia, president of the Brown Sox. “The main goal is to reach out to the community here and teach baseball,” Mejia said. “We’ve made it affordable. It’s all-volunteer. We’re just here to play baseball.” According to Mejia, it costs $100 to sign up for a three-month session, in which there will be 10 weeks of play, with games on Sundays. A tournament will be held the weekend of Oct. 24-25 to round out the next session, according to Mejia. Currently, the Lincoln Brown Sox, which was formed over the past year by three little league coaches wishing to expand the baseball season, fields three teams. For the fall, the teams’ age groups will be 9-year-olds, 10-year-olds and 11-year-olds, said Mike Fleming, marketing manager for the organization. “It’s a huge success in and out of the community,” Fleming said. “We have 12 teams from outside Lincoln that are coming here to play on Sundays. They’re from Roseville, Rocklin, Yuba City, Loomis and Natomas, and we’re working on Woodland.” According to Fleming, the Lincoln Brown Sox is a way to play baseball year-round without having to spend too much. “Some of the other travel ball teams charge $300-$500,” Fleming said. Helping to defray the costs are sponsors, according to Mejia. The Police Activities League partnered with the organization and “essentially helped us with all of our startup equipment,” Mejia said. “They have been absolutely outstanding.” That startup equipment included helmets, bats, balls, pitching machines and catchers’ gear, The Lincoln Rotary club also provided $500, and kids for whom the $100 is prohibitive can get financial help from the organization and sponsors, according to Mejia. “It’s a great thing to play for, and all my friends play,” said 9-year-old Tyler Fleming. “I just like to play more often and get better.” Tyler said he plays pitcher, first base and right field and thinks the Brown Sox is a good way to keep up his skills in the off season from little league. To help the players improve and hone their skills, two trainers volunteer their time to come to Wednesday practices, according to Mejia. For 9-year-old Sean Mejia, that training is helpful as he strives to get better at pitching. “I play third base, and I want to switch to pitcher,” Sean said. If Brown Sox wasn’t available, Sean said he would probably play baseball in Rocklin or Roseville, but likes being able to play in Lincoln where there is a shorter drive and he is playing with the same kids he goes to school with and plays with during the regular little league season. “It’s created an opportunity to play year-round,” said Daryn Kumar, whose 9-year-old son Zak plays for the Brown Sox. Kumar said he thinks the Brown Sox is a great way to build the skill sets of kids locally that will eventually help them play for Lincoln High School and be even more competitive in the region. The Lincoln Baseball Academy is the nonprofit organization that runs the Lincoln Brown Sox, and sponsors are always needed, according to Mejia. “Essentially, we don’t turn any kids away,” Mejia said, adding that there is currently not a softball team, but if word spreads and girls want to play as well, it is something the organization is interested in doing. Other current plans involve getting an indoor facility to train inside. For Mejia, the motivation to wok with the nonprofit is simple. “I get more gratification just watching the kids grow from never coming out and stealing bases to making plays,” Mejia said. “It just thrills me to death. There’s lots of hurdles, and as they climb over each and every one of them, we’re right there with them.” Additional Information Signups for the fall session of the Lincoln Brown Sox will be held Aug. 5. For more information, visit www.lincolnbrownsox.com or call Issac Mejia at 267-9280. Brandon Darnell can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.