CCA student’s Bats4Boys puts bats in the hands of players in need
Canyon Crest Academy baseball player Spencer Dicken has launched an effort called Bats4Boys, collecting used baseball bats for military kids and players from inner-city high schools and little leagues who might otherwise never have a chance to swing away.
He has collected 161 bats so far and is hoping for even more.
“From the minute I was born I was a baseball kid,” Spencer said on his website. “My first word was ‘ball’ and I have been playing the game since the age of 4.”
Spencer, now a junior pitcher on the CCA varsity baseball team, read an article about how many kids could not participate in sports because they didn’t have the necessary equipment. Knowing that without a bat some kids would never get the opportunity to play the game he loves, Spencer was determined to do something to make a difference.
“The goal of Bats4Boys is to make sure every kid has the equipment they need to hit it out of the park,” he said. “Every bat donated will be given to a young baseball player in their program who otherwise might miss out on playing.”
Over the summer Spencer was busy collecting bats, including at a pop-up event he hosted with his San Diego Show Baseball Travel Ball team at Grossmont High School. After reaching out to the Randy Jones Foundation, the San Diego Padres’ Hall of Famer’s foundation embraced Spencer’s idea and they were able to form a partnership to help get the bats to the kids who need them most.
On Sept. 5, the Randy Jones Foundation set up a socially distanced style event at Hoover High School’s Ted Williams Field to distribute some of the bats with five members of a local middle school team and a player representative from the Hoover varsity team.
Hoover High Coach Nathan Gumb told Spencer that there is no money to fund a little league and along with a local middle school coach, they are trying to get baseball started in the area. They only had three bats for the entire high school team, the middle school didn’t have bases and they have three lefties but no left-handed gloves.
Spencer helped the boys to pick out their new bats and was interviewed by Chris Ello, co-host of the Gwynn & Chris Sports Talk show on 97.3 The Fan SD, along with his new biggest fan Randy Jones.
“It’s all about giving back to kids and making a difference and giving them the opportunity to be the best they can be, that’s what Spencer’s come up with,” Jones told Ello.
“I’m a little surprised a pitcher came up with this idea,” he joked. “I couldn’t be prouder of this young man.”
Spencer said he knows every bat has a story. He will never forget his first bat—it was bright orange and he called it “Cheddar.” When people donate their bats, he asks them to write a note of encouragement to the player who will be receiving it and maybe share a story, like his fond memory of his first home run with Cheddar.
Spencer’s next goal is to get to 250 bats and he hopes to keep Bats4Boys going through college and beyond. To donate or learn more visit bats4boys.com
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