Columbia Fireflies to sponsor YMCA youth baseball leagues
The Columbia Fireflies, Columbia’s new minor league baseball team, is reaching out to some of its littlest fans by partnering with the YMCA of Columbia to sponsor summer youth T-ball and baseball leagues.
“This is really just a chance for us to get out in the community and be a part of these youth leagues,” said Brad Shank, the Fireflies’ executive vice president.
Children who participate in YMCA baseball leagues will receive jerseys and hats with the Fireflies logo and will be known as “Little Fireflies,” Shank said during a press conference Monday afternoon at Spirit Communications Park.
Each youth league will participate in a game on a special night. They’ll also get a chance to meet the Fireflies mascot and some of the players before the home opener on April 14.
The Fireflies kicked off their partnership with the YMCA Monday by presenting a check for $15,000, with that money earmarked to help give children who can’t afford the $45 entry fee a chance to participate in the Y’s youth baseball leagues.
“It’s just a natural fit for both of us,” said Wendy Broderick, the YMCA’s chief development officer. “There’s so much enthusiasm around the Columbia Fireflies coming that we’re just excited to work together.”
More than 600 children from across the Midlands will participate in the youth baseball leagues this summer, starting in May, Broderick said. The teams will play at YMCA branches around greater Columbia, including the Northwest location in Irmo, Lexington, Jeep Rogers in the Blythewood community and at the downtown Y.
The Fireflies’ partnership with the YMCA was prompted by the high participation rate in the Y’s youth baseball leagues, Shank said. Youth leagues serve as a pipeline to develop talent that someday could end up on a minor league or major league field, he added.
“This is where the dream starts,” Shank said. “This is where the kids come out and they see these guys. And, hopefully, this gives them the opportunity to live out their dreams someday and play professional sports.”