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Play Ball: Baseball is Back in West Hartford

The West Hartford Youth Baseball League returned to action on June 29, with Foodshare CEO Jason Jakubowski having the honor of throwing out the first pitch.

The West Hartford Youth Baseball League returned to action on June 29. Courtesy photo

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Following an unusually long offseason, the West Hartford Youth Baseball League (WHYBL) kicked off its 71st season last week at Wolcott Park.

After preseason workouts and the spring recreational season were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league has since been working closely with the town to be ready with a baseball program once it was deemed safe to play by state and local officials.

Foodshare President and CEO Jason Jakubowski throws out the first pitch at WHYBL opening day 2020. Courtesy photo

“It was an interesting and unique spring for sure,” said Rob Hanawalt, WHYBL president. “Feedback from our family survey was overwhelmingly in favor of having a baseball season as an outlet for sports and exercise this summer, as long as it was safe. Our board, volunteers and the town worked together to build a recreational season for this summer that is both safe and fun. It certainly looks a little different this year due to the distancing and safety protocols in place, but the kids will have a great time.  We are lucky to be able to do it, and we are especially happy for our 12-year-olds, as they will now be able to play their final season with us.”

The league has 15 teams this summer and will play an abbreviated season of approximately 10-12 games per team.

Foodshare President and CEO, Jason Jakubowski (who is a longtime WHYBL coach) was on hand to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the season.

Since the pandemic began, Foodshare has distributed more than 2.1 million pounds of food at Rentschler Field to more than 75,000 cars. The pantries and mobile trucks in West Hartford have distributed about 35% more food since the health crisis started. Over the past few years, many WHYBL coaches and volunteers have donated their time and effort to help Foodshare maximize access to nutritious food and other resources that support food security.

WHYBL players have also helped raise more than $2k for the organization since 2018.

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