Chattanooga RBI Program is a Big Hit With Kids

1,800 Boys and Girls Involved

Monday, June 16, 2014 - by B.B. Branton
Bill Cook with member of the RBI who participated in the Home Run derby.
Bill Cook with member of the RBI who participated in the Home Run derby.
- photo by Tim Evearitt

Seven-time National League All-Star Maury Wills grew up in the Washington D.C. projects in the 1940s with hand me down shoes and no real baseball glove or bat.

But thanks to those who over the years cared and came along side to be mentors and role models, plus hard work on the part of Wills, he played 14 years in the major leagues, played on three World Series championship teams (Los Angeles Dodgers, 1959-63-65) and was the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player.

Today, the Chattanooga RBI program - Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities - is helping 1,800 boys and girls ages 3 to 18 learn the game of baseball and softball and have coaches serving as mentors and role models.

Wills is in town for the Southern League All-Star Game (AT&T Field  Tuesday at 7:15 p.m.) and will speak at the All-Star Luncheon Tuesday at noon at the Chattanooga Convention Center.

"Whatever I can do to help with the RBI program here and in other cities I'll do," said Wills.

Whether any of the kids in Chattanooga will be another Maury Wills is not known, but what is understood is that the RBI program is a growing, important part of the Chattanooga Youth and Family Development Program.

"Now in our seventh year, the RBI program has 950 boys playing baseball on 47 teams in age divisions 3-18 and 850 girls playing on 54 softball teams in ages 5-18," said Montrell Besley, program director of the Youth and Family Program.

Southern League All-Star Game: A couple of dozen baseball players from the local RBI leagues were able to serve as outfielders during Monday night's Home Run Derby at Engel Stadium.

The youngsters held their own home run derby contest prior to the Southern League players taking aim at the Engel Stadium outfield walls with Tyner middle school student Ledarrius Mason finishing in first place with three round trippers.

7th Season: "I have been part of the Chattanooga RBI program since its start in 1998 when Chattanooga sent a girls softball team to the RBI national tournament in Arizona," said coach Donnell Berry who played baseball at Brainerd (2004-07) and led the city in stolen bases one season with 52.

"This is a great program for our city as we have many people in various communities helping with our teams."   

Chattanooga to Host RBI Regional Play: The Regionals for boys and girls 13-15 and 18 and under will be held July 24-27 at various sites, including Notre Dame, McCallie and Warner Park.

The RBI Regional winners advance to the RBI World Series Aug. 7-16 at Rangers Park in Arlington, Texas.

contact B.B. Branton at william.branton@Comcast.net

Teammates congratulate a team member who had just completed his at bat in the Home Run derby
Teammates congratulate a team member who had just completed his at bat in the Home Run derby
- Photo2 by Tim Evearitt

Ty Dillon And Austin Dillon To Race At Boyd's Speedway On July 28

Recently off of his run in the Infinity Series Firecracker 250  on Saturday  racer Ty Dillon made a stop at the 1/3-mile clay oval  Monday  to get a little seat time in his New TeamDillon Warrior racing machine.  Ty Dillon will take his Warrior racing machine along with teammate and local racer and TeamDillon racing instructor Dale Mcdowell ... (click for more)

Melson Shoots 65 For Pro-Am Honors

Jared Melson shot 65 on Monday and took low-pro honors in the Chattanooga Chapter TN PGA Pro-Am at the Canyon Ridge Gofl Club. Monday's Results: Low Professional: 1st: (65) Jared Melson 2nd: (78) Doug Amor Professional Skins: Jared Melson #2, #3, #4, #5, #11, & #12 Doug Amor #16 Low Amateur: (67) David Watts Amateur Skins: Guy Carpenter #2, #15, & #16, ... (click for more)

Yanfeng Automotive Interiors Establishes Chattanooga Facility To Support Volkswagen

Automotive interior parts manufacturer  Yanfeng Automotive Interiors  will locate a new manufacturing facility in Chattanooga to support Volkswagen. This represents an investment of  $55  million. The company will create 325 jobs by the time it starts production in late 2016. The company will supply interior components, including floor consoles, instrument ... (click for more)

Medical Examiner Changes Opinion In Case In Which Teen Lost Baby After Beating By Boyfriend

Hamilton County Medical Examiner Dr. James Metcalfe testified Tuesday that he had changed his findings in the death of a teen's foetus after she said she was beaten by her boyfriend. Dr. Metcalfe first listed the death of "Promise Jones" as a homicide due to blunt force injury.  He said he later determined that it could have been as the result of another cause - placental ... (click for more)

Why Chattanooga Should Stop Granting Apartment Complex PILOTs - And Response

A new report indicates why Chattanooga and Hamilton County officials do not need to extend PILOTs to apartment complex developers. Demand is high, therefore developers will continue to build to meet the demand without PILOTs. What is truly needed in the Chattanooga metroplex is low-income affordable housing. “Homeownership Drops to Lowest Level in Decades” ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Gun Control? Accuracy!

When President Barack Obama responded to the tragic killing of nine people who were worshiping at their beloved Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, S.C., last month, he immediately blamed the gun, saying, “We don't have all the facts, but we do know that once again, innocent people were killed in part because someone who wanted to inflict harm had no trouble getting their hand on ... (click for more)