Youth baseball and softball is making a comeback in the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding communities, in part, due to the growth of our Pirates RBI (Reviving Baseball/Softball in Inner Cities) program managed by Boys & Girls Clubs of Western PA, with the financial support from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  For the 2019 season, the Pirates RBI program developed an exciting partnership with the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Parks and Recreation to create the first Pirates RBI Citisports League with 60 teams, providing quality baseball and softball programming for approximately 1,000 youth.  The Pirates RBI program formed three tournament teams:  Junior baseball (ages 13-15), Senior baseball (ages 16-18) and Senior

 softball (ages 19 and under) to compete in the annual RBI regional tournament.  Players who participated in the Pirates RBI Citisports League had an opportunity to tryout for a spot on each respective team’s 15-player roster to make the trip in late July to the MLB-sponsored Mid-Atlantic RBI Regional Tournament in Durham, NC, this year’s host city

Our teams made the trip to Durham a couple of days early for the opportunity to tour North Carolina Central University, one of the top his

torically black colleges and universities (HBCU) in the nation and then visit the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, NC.  Our players were engaged in meaningful dialogue with USA Baseball’s Chief Financial Officer revolving around the topic of the many career opportunities within the sport of baseball and softball.  After a couple of busy days upon our arrival to North Carolina, it was time for business!  Pirates RBI had to face tough teams from Harrisburg, Reading, Philadelphia, Durham/Charlotte, Baltimore and Washington DC in pool-play format to determine spots in the regional championships.  The championship games were held at top-notch venues – the new Durham Bulls Athletic Park for baseball and Duke Softball Stadium for softball.

Each Pirates RBI team came to play hard with the Junior baseball team going 4-0 and the Senior baseball team going 3-1 in pool-play, both earning spots in the regional championship games.  The softball team ended the tournament with a very respectable 2-2 record against some exceptionally talented opponents.  As a result of the success on the field, there was a positive and exciting “buzz” about the Pirates RBI program all weekend long among the other participating programs.  On championship day, the Junior and Senior baseball teams came up a bit short, falling to solid Harrisburg and Durham teams, respectively.  Each champion advances to the RBI World Series being held at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach, FL in August.

“I am extremely proud of the 45 young men and women who represented Pirates RBI.  All of our players served as excellent ambassadors of our program and the City of Pittsburgh.  I am also very thankful for our dedicated coaches, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Western PA, the MLB Development team and the Pirates for helping facilitate meaningful experiences that will last a lifetime.  We will continue to be dedicated to making positive strides and grow the program in the effort to provide quality programming and educational opportunities via the sport of baseball and softball and connect the youth we serve to other Boys & Girls Club programs like our Teen Workforce Development Academy,” said Brian Jacobson, Program Director.

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