BLACKSBURG, Va. – Virginia Tech baseball will continue its “19 Ways” initiative, which was a challenge for the baseball team to find 19 ways to make a difference. The program, which was introduced last year by head coach Pete Hughes and who wears No. 19 for the Hokies, is a chance for the players to get involved and give back to the community.
“This (‘19 Ways’) is going to be part of our program for as long as I am here,” Hughes said. “This is just as important as any other phase of our program – to get our kids out in the community and to have an impact on less fortunate groups.
“And it’s just as important to get our guys out of their comfort zone and to do good for others and I think that helps them grow. This is going to be who we are as a program, and it’s not me telling our guys to do it, it’s our guys taking ownership of that and they have.”
The team reached its goal last year by volunteering at a number of different events, but its most newsworthy was the team’s “Shave for the Brave”, an event it will hold again this year on October 28 at English Field.
In conjunction with St. Baldrick’s Foundation and “46 Mommas Shave for the Brave”, the Hokies all shaved their heads in support of childhood cancer research. In addition, they were able to donate a check to Melina Brown, who is raising money for cancer research and is approaching her goal of $10,000.
The reason Brown is so passionate is because her son Levi – who is an adopted member of the Tech baseball team – was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a highly malignant primary brain tumor, when he was four. Now, he is 11 and cancer free, but everyday 46 mothers in the United States are told their child has cancer, so the fight never ends.
So, HokieBall is highly encouraging the public to get involved with this initiative, by either participating in the event or by making a monetary donation to the cause. Donations can be made to “46 Mommas Shave for the Brave” and sent to the Virginia Tech baseball office at 210 Cassel Coliseum, Blacksburg, VA 24060 or they can be directly donated online at Brown's fundraising site.
“My goal when I started this was that I wanted our guys to take ownership of ‘19 Ways’ and have that define us as who we are as a program,” Hughes said. “I want our guys to know how privileged they are to be an ACC Division I athlete at a tremendous school and the role that comes with that in the community.
“That’s why our guys go out and do this, they are knowledgeable enough to know how privileged they are and, as long as I am here, this will be a part of our program.”
Tech baseball is encouraging members of the community to also send suggestions on how the team can help individuals or organizations. Suggestions may be sent via email to Ryan Connolly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For updates on Virginia Tech baseball, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Baseball).