Youth baseball set to return to the city

From left to right: Barry Roundtree, Chris Geis, Bryant McCorkle and Scott Sadderfield

Youth baseball set to return to the city
July 07
08:59 2022

Chris Geis has been an avid sports fan since he was a kid. During the summer months, he enjoyed playing baseball with his friends and his dream is to bring that enjoyment to the kids of eastern Winston-Salem.

Geis, along with the Winston-Salem Police Foundation, the City of Winston-Salem, Bryant McCorkle, former Winston-Salem police chief Barry Roundtree, Justin Gomez, Scott Sadderfield and others collaborated together to form the Police Athletic League for tee ball for boys and girls. The league will have ten teams of 75 to 80 kids that will hopefully spark more kids to play the game of baseball. 

Last summer, Geis reached out to several influential figures around the city because he wanted to start a baseball league. He had the idea for several years after watching Mo’ne Davis dominate the Little League World Series back in 2013.

“I wanted to start a baseball league in East Winston for a number of reasons,” said Geis. “In 2014 Mo’ne Davis was the sportsman of the year and that captivated me. I clipped a couple of articles out of the newspaper and I saved them and I said, when I have time, this is what I want to do here for a number of reasons. 

“Number one, you want to give kids hope. You want to have good relationships between the kids in the community and the police. And the other thing is, to be perfectly frank about it, I want more Black kids playing baseball. When I grew up, you had a lot of great athletes playing baseball and now you don’t have inner city kids playing baseball as much as they used to.” 

Once Geis was connected with Chief Roundtree, Roundtree suggested that they run the league through the Police Foundation because they had sponsored a number of teams in various sports over the years.

“They said we will start a Police Athletic League and we will start with tee ball and run that for a few years and when these kids grow up, we will expand it,” Geis said of the conversation with the Winston-Salem Police Foundation.  

This was an opportunity to not only teach the game of baseball to the kids, but also to show them that there are people that care about them outside of their homes. The plan is to also have police officers and college students as coaches to give the kids role models to look up to.  

The league started on June 30 and the games will be played on the rebuilt baseball field at Rupert Bell Park. All games will be played on Saturday mornings beginning at 9 a.m. The operations of the league will be run out of W.R. Anderson Recreation Center thanks to Senior Supervisor Bryant McCorkle.  

“Not just Bryant, but the City of Winston-Salem has been very supportive of this,” Geis continued.  

Geis and Bryant drove around East Winston last summer to find an adequate place to play the games. They came upon Rupert Bell Park, where they haven’t played baseball for two decades and thought the park would be a great place to play with some minor renovations.  

“We went out to the field and said we can make this work,” he said. “This is going to be our field of dreams, we just need the city to come in and spruce it up. And the transformation from then, back in February, to what it is now is just overwhelming. William Royston, who is the Recreation and Parks director, we owe a tremendous debt of gratitude toward because he put his team on board and put them to work.

“Our thought process was since this is the community and the kids are from this community, this can be a center point for these kids and the community because they will see that people care about them. It’s a nice neighborhood and a beautiful park. It can be the magnet for building up the community.”

The league has received some wonderful donations from several companies to assist with their efforts. Hanes donated the jerseys and caps for the league and Academy Sports donated $2,000 worth of equipment as well.

Geis says he is thankful to all those who have assisted with the coordinating of the league and hopes it blossoms into something more than just sports.


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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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