Baseball Program Awarded 3 Grants

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Since Payson Unified School District, like most school systems in the country, doesn’t have enough money to fully support its athletic programs, coaches have had to take matters into their own hands to try and raise funds.

Payson High varsity baseball head coach Brian Young has done his best.

And his efforts have been rewarded as the program has received three grants worth about $6,000.

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Payson High varsity baseball players (from left) Jesus Perez, Tyus Sarnowski and Nick McMullen hold a giant $1,000 check from the Arizona Diamondbacks Play Ball Fund.

“Basically, we don’t take any funding from the school for equipment, for uniforms, for anything,” said Young, who’ll enter his second season as Longhorns’ head coach this coming spring.

“The only thing that they pay for is travel for us on the bus and then some coaches’ salaries. And those could be going away next year. So anything that we buy, anything that the kids have, it’s money that they’ve fund-raised for.

“I think when organizations look at that, I think they’re a little more willing to help. When you look at the school isn’t giving you that money. So it’s all up to the coaches and the kids and the programs to come up with that.

“Basically we’ve been working in the offseason just to try to be creative with fund-raising, as much as we can. We went out and applied for some different grants. Basically, it’s just going out and just filling out the grant applications and then working through the process and kind of showing why we need what we needed.”

The Mogollon Sporting Asso­ciation awarded the program $3,000 they have to match for new uniforms.

“We have to match that with money of our own funds that kids have fund-raised for,” Young said. “So we’re going to be starting out with new uniforms for our varsity kids this year.”

The coach said he’s so thankful for the Association for the contribution.

“We really appreciate Mogollon Sporting here in Payson,” Young said. “They give a ton of money to different school programs. They raise a lot of money then they give it back to different programs in town. Then they also give scholarships to seniors every year. So it’s a great organization that helps out a lot our teenagers here.”

The program also received about $2,000 worth of game pants from the Good Sports Organi­zation, which is based in Boston, Mass.

“We were looking for some equipment from them,” Young said. “They were kind of out of what they had, but they sent us about $2,000 in game pants. So we’ll use those over the next couple of years.

The other grant was for $1,000 from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Play Ball Fund.

“They give $1,000 grants out to support different baseball programs in the state,” Young said. “They invite you down to a game and they give you a check and stuff like that.”

The Longhorns used that grant to buy new batting helmets.

“We got these new Rawlings Technology Helmets,” Young said. ‘They classify them with 70-, 80- and 90-miles per hour, for safety. So they’re kind of cool. All of our kids from JV through varsity will have new helmets this year. The ones we went with were 80, just because we don’t see a whole lot of people that throw over 80. But they’re supposed to be safe up to those different speeds when you get hit with them. It’s kind of the latest technology in batting helmets.”

The coach said the grants are a blessing for the PHS baseball program.

“Anytime you can bring anything in for uniforms and game pants and stuff like that, that was big for us just because you go through that stuff so much,” he said.

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