SOUTHLAKE, TX — Eight of the best softball teams in North America took to the diamond on Thursday to get the 2015 RBI World Series rolling.
“RBI is Major League Baseball’s youth baseball and softball program that annually serves over 225,000 kids through a little over 200 leagues across the United States and the Caribbean and Latin America,” said David James, the senior director of the RBI program.
Yeah, it’s the second straight year that DFW has hosted the RBI World Series, which aims to revive baseball for inner city kids. The tourney sees teams coming in from as close as Houston to as far away as Hawaii.
And needless to say, the furnace that is Dallas in August can be tough to handle when you’re used to an island paradise.
“It’s so hot! I think yesterday it reached 104 at the game and we’re all standing there with our name tags and we’re like [fans herself] and I’m standing there with my legs open and I was just like ‘Oh my god, let’s get out of here!’” laughed Leisha Nakagawa, a member of the Hawaiian team.
No kidding! It takes an extra dose of determination to play through these temps. But that determination is something these girls have thanks to RBI.
“You get a lot of opportunities to travel, and they give you a lot of help with pitching and batting. And it’s really good because they give you a lot of free work,” said AJ Salazar with the team from Houston.
It also gives these girls a shot at scholarships, like the one Leisha got to play college ball in Kansas.
“I can honestly say without the RBI program, I know I would not be at this kind of level,” said Leisha.
And that’s what the program is all about: revitalizing youth baseball and giving everyone a chance to take a swing at America’s pastime!