On August 30th, 13 “Little Spinners” between the ages of 8 and 12 gathered at Lowell’s LeLacheur Park to meet several players from the Lowell Spinners and participate in some training exercises. Though the focus was on baseball, the Lowell Spinners team wanted to use the activity as a metaphor for doing well in life.
“If our guys can help inspire or at least light a little spark in these young men to realize you’ve gotta work hard to get to the next level, whatever the next level may be, then we’re doing our job,” Shawn Smith, the general manager for the Lowell Spinners told The Lowell Sun.
In his application to attend the training camp, Jacob Madruga, 9, said that he tried basketball and soccer, but that baseball ranked number one as his favorite sport.
“I love baseball because we cheer each other on and I get to make new friends each season,” he said in the essay. “I like working as a team and making plays to get people out on the other team. I also like batting and hitting the ball and making it to base. I like that we are always moving.”
The Lowell Spinners have been running baseball clinics for children of all ages for the last 22 years, according to Smith, and this first-time partnership between Eastern Bank and the team was a great opportunity to get involved in the community. David “Big Papi” Ortiz, an Eastern Bank Partner For Good, has also devoted a lot of his energy and efforts to supporting youth across Massachusetts and his home country of the Dominican Republic.
Eleven-year-old Riley Johnson identifies himself as a “major league” baseball player and said he was lucky enough to see Ortiz play before he retired, an inspiration for him to apply for the camp.
“My favorite positions are shortstop, first base, and most of all, pitcher,” he said. “My favorite pitcher is Chris Sale. I was also lucky enough to go to Big Papi’s last game, and it was awesome!”
Like his teammate Jacob, Riley said he also enjoys baseball because of the teamwork and friendships he made.
“The most exciting time was when my team won the championship two years in a row,” he said. “And once me and my cousin got picked [to go on to] the piles at the Spinners game to play a game against each other.”
Having played baseball for the last four years, Giacomo Beardinelli III, was beyond excited to attend camp with the Lowell Spinners and was lucky enough to throw the first ball of the day during training.
“This year, because of my birthday, I was not able to play with my friends like I did before,” he said. “Even though I was not with my friends, I was pitcher, catcher, and shortstop for the first time ever on my spring team. It was a good season for me and [it] made me want to get better and play more. This summer I was asked to be on the 9-year-old Ripken team. My team got to go to [the state championship, but] we lost in the semi-finals by one run. It was sad to lose but I was happy that we made it as far as we did.”
After the training, the Little Spinners joined their Lowell Spinner counterparts for a barbecue and had the chance to watch the Spinners play the Tri-City ValleyCats. As a parting gift, each Little Spinners got a baseball autographed by David Ortiz.
Learn more about the Lowell Spinners and how they’re doing good in their community.