4.10.2014: On Opening Day, Smithfield Little Leaguers to Give Back

UpdatedWednesday January 7, 2015 bySLL.

(SMITHFIELD, R.I.)-Smithfield Little League announced today that during the 2014 Opening Day ceremonies - scheduled for 9:00 a.m., Saturday, April 12, at Whipple Field - the community is invited to help Central Falls baseball players in need and support a foundation established in the name of a former Dorchester, Massachusetts little leaguer and victim of the Boston Marathon Bombing.  The league will observe a moment of silence during its Opening Day ceremony in honor of all impacted by the attack.

Members of the Balcom Family will throw out the ceremonial first pitch in recognition of the many contributions of the late David Balcom who passed away last year. Balcom is a former recipient of Smithfield Little League’s Man of the Year Award, recognized for his years of selfless service as a baseball coach and contributor to the league. 

"Smithfield Little League seeks to instill strong values in all of its players,” said League President Kevin Bourque. "Through support of The Martin Richard Foundation and collecting baseball equipment for use by those in need, the league demonstrates the importance of good character. The league invites the entire community to the 2014 Opening Day ceremony to pause for a moment of silence in honor of those affected at last year’s marathon and witness how these players have turned the anniversary of a tragic event into something good that benefits others.”

Smithfield Little League has partnered with other leagues throughout New England to recognize the victims of the Boston Marathon and help to collectively raise $50,000 in support of The Martin Richard Foundation. Martin was the 8-year-old from Dorchester, Massachusetts who lost his life as a result of last year’s bombings at the Boston Marathon finish line. With a passion for baseball, Martin played for Savin Hill Little League, hitting two home runs in his last season of play. Martin played shortstop, pitcher and second base.

In January 2014, the Richard family launched ‘The Martin Richard Foundation’ to honor his memory and to support athletic, educational and community endeavors. During opening day, Smithfield Little League will ‘pass the hat’ inviting attendees to make a donation in any amount. All proceeds will benefit the foundation.

The Smithfield league is partnering with other leagues in Rhode Island District 4 Little League to support youth baseball in Central Falls.  Struggling to attract volunteers and players, players who registered to play in the Central Falls League were recently invited to join neighboring Lincoln Little League. Some players’ families experiencing financial hardship struggle to purchase often costly equipment, therefore Smithfield Little League will invite its members to donate gently used bats, gloves, helmets and other pieces of baseball equipment to support the Central Falls players.  District 4 Little League includes leagues from Burrillville, Cumberland (American and National), Glocester, Lincoln, North Smithfield, Northern Bernon, Scituate-Foster, Smithfield and Woonsocket.

"Smithfield Little League and the players coached by David Balcom are grateful for the hundreds of hours he spent on baseball fields teaching the game of baseball,” added Bourque.  "The league is honored to invite members of his family to throw out the ceremonial first pitch of the 2014 season.”

Smithfield High School freshman Jennifer Chaput will sing the national anthem. Chaput is a member of the high school’s chorus and vocal ensemble.