Baseball trades hits for strikes
November 13, 2015
Juniors Ryan Sparks and Victor Jacobsen pose with one of the athletes at the Galesburg Bowling alley.
Sunday morning, the Monmouth College Baseball team volunteered to support another group of athletes within the community. The team spent five hours at the Special Olympics Regional Bowling Tournament held in Galesburg, there to ensure that the overall event ran smoothly.
“We wanted to get more involved in the community. Being a first year coach, I wanted to get the team on track with the town and community, and the guys had a lot of fun with it,” said Head Baseball Coach and Monmouth College alum Alan Betourne.
While the individuals in the tournament benefitted from the team’s help, the players walked away from the event having learned life lessons.
“We were excited for the opportunity a month ago when Coach Betourne told us we had the chance to be involved,” said junior Asa Stevenson. “Making connections with the athletes and hearing their stories was an experience I won’t forget. It gave me a different outlook on a lot of things.”
Separated into different groups, the players helped with a variety of tasks at the bowling tournament.
“Our assignments ranged from scorekeepers all the way to escorts, and I think all the guys had fun regardless of which role they played,” said senior Brandon Harroun. “It was amazing to be able to socialize and play such a large role for the athletes in this tournament. Even though we were only there for a short time, we created strong bonds with some of the athletes. Seeing the smiles on their faces after accomplishing the things they were able to do convinced me to continue volunteering.”
Austin Hardy, a junior on the team, agreed that this event made a positive impact in his life. “The overall experience was amazing. I was assigned to be a scorekeeper for one of the lanes and worked with three participants. The environment that was created there was something I won’t forget. I remember when we were walking to pick up our lunches, just about everyone in the bowling alley started clapping for us because we were volunteering. I can’t even begin to count the number of thank you’s that I heard.”
Although the baseball season remains months away, the team has put in effort both on and off the field in the off-season to build the program under new leadership.
“We have our goals on the field too,” said Betourne. “There are a lot of people who think this year is a rebuilding year for us, but I don’t really think so. I think we have a lot of talent on the team, and I hold them to a high standard. As a coach, my goal is to develop the team as players and as young men by doing the community work that we’re doing now.”
This semester, the baseball team also participated in the Warren County Animal Shelter Walk/Run event and is currently planning a volunteer event at the Warren Achievement Center.
“I think it’s important that we volunteer because it shows that being a Monmouth College baseball player is more than just playing baseball,” said Hardy. “It’s about giving back to the amazing community that we get to call home for four years. The amount of support we get from the community is something that we never overlook.”
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