CHASE — After the Bengies Chase baseball program folded several years ago, kids in the community who were interested in the sport had to travel outside of their immediate area to play. Now, the Bengies Chase Recreation Council is reintroducing baseball to the community, so those kids will be able to play in their own backyards again.
Local resident Tino Chavis, who orchestrated the effort to bring baseball back, presented the plan for the program at a Bengies Chase Recreation Council meeting earlier this year, and the eight members present voted in favor of it.
“The program brings kids from the neighborhood back to play baseball and keeps them from getting into trouble,” Chavis said. “We will start with a team in the community, and one step at a time, we will hopefully grow the program back to what it was.”
Chavis will start a 13U travel baseball team in the fall with help from the board, and if it is successful and sees a lot of parent and community involvement, then the board will continue to support it, according to board treasurer Terri Sanders, who voted to establish the program.
“I hope that the program can build to a place where it can stand on its own,” adding that, at some point, she wants the program to be financially self-sustaining.
Sanders said that the board agreed to support the program on the condition that Chavis also run a recreational league in the spring that is open to all kids regardless of skill. She hopes that the program will grow to have multiple teams within different age groups, like it did in the past.
“Whether it pans out remains to be seen,” Sanders said. “But this is a start to bring baseball back and allow kids to play in their own community rather than go elsewhere to play.”
Since the previous program director stepped down several years ago, the recreation council has not offered recreation or travel ball. Chavis, who was the assistant coach for the White Marsh Warriors travel baseball team, left that program in pursuit of a higher level of competition and seized the opportunity to administer a program in Bengies Chase.
He extended an invitation to a few core players from the White Marsh team, including his own son, to try out for the Bengies Chase team, and is recruiting others from the area for a 12-person team. He has held open tryouts for the past couple of weekends, evaluating players through hitting, pitching and fielding drills, and he hopes to select a team soon.
In the fall, Chavis hopes to schedule at least eight games against Harford County or Baltimore County teams and enter into at least two tournaments. He said that he is excited for his team to walk onto the diamond in the fall, and that he expects the season to start in mid-September.
“If you commit to a team, it is like committing to a family,” he said. “But it is also a learning experience. The kids will have fun and learn to play one of the greatest games of all time – baseball.”