October 6, 2016
Less than five months after launching, DC Grays RBI is sponsoring a full off-season baseball and softball program for boys and girls in underserved areas of Washington, DC. DC Grays Baseball, the non-profit organization that oversees the DC Grays summer college baseball team and the DC Grays RBI youth development program, announced plans to host a full “fall ball” schedule for baseball and softball as well as an indoor winter program that will run from November through March.
DC Grays RBI is part of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner-City (RBI) initiative. DC Grays RBI launched in 2016 with seven teams (five baseball and two softball) playing a full summer schedule. In all, more than 150 kids participated in DC Grays RBI summer programs. Three DC Grays RBI teams (Boys 15U baseball, and girls 15U softball and 18U softball) represented Washington, DC in the regional RBI tournament in Bowie, MD in July. The DC Grays summer college baseball team hosted skills clinics for DC Grays RBI ballplayers, and additional skills training was provided by professional and college coaches.
Because of the great enthusiasm generated by DC Grays, the board of DC Grays Baseball decided to launch a fall ball program for one baseball team and two softball teams, as well as a full winter training and clinic schedule. In all, approximately 80 kids are expected to participate in DC Grays RBI off-season programs.
The Boys 15U baseball team is participating in the new Metro Fall League, and the Girls 15U and 18U softball teams are participating in the Northern Virginia Girls Softball Association fall league. All three teams participated in a special 9-11 Hero Tournament against out of town teams from Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia.
DC Grays Baseball is pleased to partner with the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on its off-season program. This partnership means that DC Grays RBI will have access to the first-class Academy facilities, including lighted turf fields and a full indoor training center.
“We couldn’t be more thrilled at the progress of DC Grays RBI,” said Michael Barbera, president of DC Grays Baseball. “To follow-up a great summer with a full off-season program shows that there are many kids in DC who love baseball and want to play it year-round. They just need more opportunities to play our great game.”
Participation in all DC Grays RBI activities is free for all participants and their families.
DC Grays RBI will be hosting several off-season skills clinics at the Academy. A pitching clinic featuring college pitching coaches was held in September, and other skills clinics will follow with similar high-level instruction. The Grays are also partnering with local Little Leagues and middle school baseball programs to host coaching clinics for interested adults that are interested in coaching on the youth or interscholastic level.
The DC Grays are sad to report that it lost Zach Irwin (CRCBL ’15) on Sept 29th. He was 22 years old.
Zach was attending Lonestar College in his hometown of Kingwood, Texas at the time, and was living at home.
Zach was a go-to reliever for the Grays during the 2015 season. He pitched 33 innings, and posted 29 strikeouts.
His personality and warmth were a critical element in the DC Grays making their first playoff that year.
He will be missed deeply by all those that knew him. Baseball has lost a future star.