Goskagit

SEDRO-WOOLLEY — The Sedro-Woolley High School softball and baseball programs could have shinier diamonds this year thanks to the Seattle Mariners.

The programs were recently awarded a Mariners Care Equipment Donation Grant and will split $5,000. Sedro-Woolley was one of 10 schools in the state to receive a grant.

"We couldn't be happier," baseball coach Rob Davie said. "What a great opportunity."

The grant program was started by the Mariners in 2017 with the goal of making high school baseball and softball more equitable throughout the state.

"We applied for the grant for the last few years," Davie said. "I'm a math guy, and with all the high schools in the state, the mathematical chances just didn't seem very good. But wow! It's like we we've been pulled off the bench and put in the game."

Softball coach Maddie Jones said assistant coach Amy Regehr was responsible for her squad's grant paperwork, saying it included letters from members of community as well as from current and former players and coaches.

She said the money has been earmarked for replacing the batting cage nets in the fieldhouse.

"That was the goal," Jones said. "We will have to see if that can happen. We will have to look at the costs again."

Since its inception, the Mariners Care Equipment Donation Grant program has awarded 40 grants to high school baseball and softball programs throughout the state.

Davie plans to use the money to help make his baseball field more of a baseball park. A Sedro-Woolley alumnus who played baseball, Davie said the field is in need of improvements.

"The list is long," Davie said. "But if I had to pick a starting place, it would be the infield. I am working with a couple other alumnus to see what we can do. In particularly between the base pads.

"We need to clean up the backstop for our catchers and I want to add a warning track in the outfield."

For Jones, if nets aren't an option, she'll focus on new benches in the dugout and replacing the bats used by the junior varsity and C teams. Many of those bats were donated to the program over a decade ago.

"We are really super gracious about having received this grant," Jones said. "Everything helps."

Regardless of where the money is used, it will go toward improving facilities used by both programs as well as the community.

"It's really exciting," Davie said. "It's a great opportunity for all the kids. It's a great opportunity to start to improve our home field."

— Reporter Vince Richardson: 360-416-2181, vrichardson@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter:@goskagit, Facebook.com/VinceReports/

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