The annual regional showcase for Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in Inner-cities (RBI) was held in the national capital area this weekend, and the DC Grays RBI program made its presence felt in all three divisions – Junior Baseball, Senior Baseball and Softball.
Since 2016, DC Grays Baseball (the all-volunteer program that runs the DC Grays summer college team) has run the RBI for Washington, DC in partnership with MLB. DC Grays RBI has baseball and softball programs across all age groups, and all participation is free to all participants. In 2021, DC Grays RBI will serve 230 kids – primarily from Wards 6, 7 and 8.
The MLB RBI Mid-Atlantic regionals were held locally this year, with softball held at the Washington Nationals Youth Baseball Academy and baseball held at the Academy as well as two parks in Prince George’s County, MD.
The DC Grays RBI Softball team made a terrific showing, going 3-1 in pool play and advancing to the championship game on Sunday morning thanks to some terrific play from Jade Weiggands and Kenadi Burnett. In the final, with a trip to the RBI World Series on the line, the girls were defeated by the perennially powerful Harrisburg RBI by a 9-1 score.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these girls,” said Head Softball Coach Harry Thomas Jr. “They work hard and play the game the right way. They are great representatives of our program.”
The Junior Baseball Team (15U) went 2-2 in pool play, with wins over Philadelphia Phillies RBI and Pittsburg Pirates RBI, who went on to win the championship after advancing to the championship round. The team was paced by the strong all-around play of Marc Harrison Jr and Mark Hughes, both of whom pitched well, played multiple positions and hit the ball hard.
The Senior Baseball team went 1-3 in pool play, with a dominating 14-3 win over Durham Long-Ball RBI and a handful of close losses. The power hitting of Miles Peterson and Devin Gilliam paced DC throughout the weekend.
In a year when several long-time RBI teams like Baltimore Orioles RBI, Reading-Olivet RBI, PG County RBI and Norfolk RBI did not field teams in the tournament, DC Grays RBI once again fielded teams in all three divisions. In just five short years, DC Grays RBI has proven itself to be one of the leading programs in the region. The strength of the organization can be seen by the quality of play on the field, and the expansion of the program overall. Since 2019, DC Grays RBI have added Junior Travel Baseball and Junior Softball programs – allowing more kids 10-12 years old to participate in DC Grays RBI programs.
“We’re building and expanding all the time,” said Head Baseball Coach Brad Burris. “We are reaching to more Little Leagues and offering more and more kids a chance to play ball. It’s exciting to see the growth.”
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