Pittsburgh Pirates paying for charter bus so softball team can attend tournament
It appeared that the girls on the Baldwin (Pa.) High School softball team’s dreams of tournament glory would be snuffed out before they even had the chance to take the field. After raising $10,000 so the team could attend and participate in the Cal Ripken Experience softball tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. this coming weekend, their travel itinerary was completely ruined by unforeseen c0mplications.
The team had purchased nonrefundable tickets from Myrtle Beach back home to Pittsburgh through the airline Direct Air, but the company shut down operations last week, leaving the girls without a flight home and no money left over to pay for an alternative means by way they could get home.
In stepped the Pittsburgh Pirates, chairman Bob Nutting, who will pay the $4,000 necessary for a charter bus ride home for the team on Sunday. Said Nutting in a written statement:
“I heard of the team’s dilemma and felt compelled to ensure their trip would not be canceled after all of the hard work that was put in by the school, students and families to raise the necessary funds.”
The responses by those affiliated with the school were not surprisingly filled with immense gratitude.
“It was a complete surprise, and when my mom told me about it I was shocked. I didn’t think it was real,” said Erica Young, a Baldwin senior and the team’s right fielder. “I’m very thankful that someone came through and that we’re able to stay through Sunday.”
“You see stories of generosity and people helping other people, but when a corporation such as the Pirates steps up and does something for a local school, it really is amazing,” said Vince Sortino, the school’s athletic director. “It says a lot about the people and the organization, it really does.”
Nutting said that the Pirates strive to have a “meaningful impact” in the community and added, “I am pleased we were able to help in this case, and I hope that they have a wonderful trip and a successful tournament and season.”
For a team that has given the region little to cheer for on the field in recent memory — the team hasn’t qualified for the postseason since 1992 — there is no better way to rally support around the organization that appears to be making enormous strides in a return to respectability than by performing generous gestures such as the one described here. Good for the Pirates and best of luck to the Baldwin High School softball team.