The Academy

From the Sidelines

As I write this, it is only 43 days until the county softball season begins.  Hard to believe, but let’s hope the weather will cooperate more than it has in the past for all of our spring sports.

Our schools in the county have some very good programs in track and field, baseball, golf, and softball.  Right now, softball seems to be on the upswing with what the Bradford Railroaders accomplished last year by winning a State Championship, and Greenville continues its streak of winning 25 games in a season.

One of the reasons our spring sports are on the uptick, I believe, is because of “The Academy”, officially known as the Ohio Wave Fastpitch Academy, located at 615 Riffle Ave. here in Greenville.  There are two other places that are helping and that is “The Barn” near Ansonia for track pole vaulters and athletes, and “The Yard”, for baseball players. More on them later.

The Academy was started by a few gentlemen along with Greenville coach Jerrod Newland, who saw the need for a place for all students in the area to have a place to practice during the winter months.  It is open to all students, no matter the sport, to come and practice their craft.   This has worked out very well, and because of the generosity of a few others, the doors stay open for our young athletes.

If you want to learn more about how this started, go down there sometime, look at what they have, and talk to Coach Newland or whoever is around.  They are more than happy to tell you the story.  It truly is a labor of love!

This year they have installed new turf, and new boards around to spruce things up a bit, but there is still a lot they want to do.  Their hearts are in the right place but money sometimes is the issue.  These are proud people, and they hate to ask for help, or donations.

The Academy is a non-profit 501-C3, tax deductible charity, and their tax I.D # is 26-0099590.  Therefore, fund raising is sometimes an issue, but donations are always welcomed.  I doubt if any of the people involved would ever ask for a donation, they just do what they can on their own. 

Ask some of your local athletes who have been to the Academy what they think.  Most will tell you it is highly worth it!  The people involved with the Academy really do care about softball, but they care more for the young people.  They want to be involved with them, and make them better people as well as athletes.

When talking to Coach Newland, you can see the pride in his eyes when talking about “his kids”…..not just his softball players, but everyone who enters the Academy.

The men involved all want to help, but as I said before, time constraints for some, and money are always a concern.  I have been to the Academy, talked to the young athletes, and watched as those involved interact with the athletes.   It is a worthwhile and purposeful experience.

The Academy is one of those places people want for kids and athletes to get involved with, and we have it here in Darke County.  I think they deserve our help.  So, if you can, I think a donation to the Ohio Wave Fastpitch Academy would be greatly appreciated.

I am doing this asking on my own.  I did not ask the men involved, I just think it is as worthwhile as donating to any charity, but the difference is you can go see where your money is going, right there at the end of Riffle Street in Greenville!   Once they get the building paid off, there are other avenues that can be taken to help out in the future.

I think our spring sports all over Darke County will be successful this year.  We have good programs, and our athletes are working hard to be successful.  Places like The Academy (and The Barn, and The Yard)  are doing their part, now I think it is time we all pitch in a little and do ours. What do you say?  That’s the way I see it, from the sidelines.

Mike Stegall / Correspondent

Mike Stegall is a GHS alum and played on the Green Wave's only undefeated football team. Served 27 years as an OHSAA football official and currently serves as a Darke County Commissioner

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