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21 May 2014

Arkansas AAU Shows Baseball Heart

Arkansas AAU Shows Baseball Heart

Jamie Robertson, District Director for Arkansas AAU Baseball, and the Executive Committee for Arkansas AAU, took the very first big step in bringing AAU Baseball back to Arkansas. Recently a massive tornado took 16 lives and a host of homes, businesses, schools and churches. Arkansas AAU donated $500 to each of two high school teams who did not get to play their “Senior Night” games on their home fields. The $1000 donated by Arkansas AAU went to the Mayflower and Vilonia teams at Dickey-Stephens park, home to the Arkansas Travelers.

The article below was originally posted on by David McCollum

NORTH LITTLE ROCK — Because of the effects of tornadoes, baseball teams from Mayflower and Vilonia were not able to celebrate Senior Night on their home fields.

They jointly did it Tuesday night before an officially announced crowd of 8.014  at Dickey-Stephens Park, home of the Arkansas Travelers.

They did it on a perfect baseball evening.

It was a night for Eagles in both communities, all of whom had their lives change dramatically nine days ago, to soar emotionally.

All proceeds from concessions and donations went to disaster relief in both communities.

Cheerleaders from both teams lined each entrance with buckets. And those buckets filled with bills, many of large denominations, and gift cards. That was the scoreboard on this evening.

An hour before game time, every regular seat was taken and the berms in the outfield began to fill. By gametime, fans were lined two- and three-deep in the concourse area. The lines at the concession stands were long, jammed and happy.

Gov. Mike Beebe was there, accompanying Vilonia mayor James Firestone and Mayflower mayor Randy Holland, who threw out the ceremonial first pitches.

Arkansas football coach Bret Beliema and basketball coach Mike Anderson, along with UA football star Travis Swanson, signed autographs on the concourse.

There were beauty queens galore from both communities.

Volunteers sold commemorative T-shirts.

There was even a live bald eagle from the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.

Groups of several high school teams were there.

The seniors of both teams and their families were introduced before the game.

A combined choir from Mayflower and Vilonia High Schools sang the National Anthem.

Country singer Matt Huff sang a new song he dedicated to both communities about “picking up the pieces.”

As teams lined up behind him, Walt Hollis, pastor of Lifeline Church of Mayflower, which had its building destroyed by the tornado, led a prayer.

“We are not rivals but comrades,” he said about the two teams.

Vilonia won the game, 3-0, but few people paid a lot of attention to the scoreboard. Afterward, it was a night of hugs, photos and fun.

On a gorgeous May evening, everybody was an Eagle.


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