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R.B.I. program players enjoy baseball in big-time atmosphere

Friday, June 26, 2009

“Improvisation” was the theme for this year’s edition of IMPACT being held this week on the Lipscomb University campus. Members of the Nashville R.B.I. program, which provides inner-city children the opportunity to play organized baseball, were surprised recipients of that theme.

Thursday afternoon, at Ken Dugan Field at Stephen L. Marsh Stadium, teams consisting of 13, 14 and 15-year-old players competed in front of more than 1,500 fans. Most of the fans were from the IMPACT group and they provided an enthusiastic back drop for the event including cheers and banners and signs for individual players.

In keeping with the “Improvisation” theme the players had no idea there would be a crowd. They were simply told by Reggie Whittemore, a former Lipscomb Bisons baseball player and the executive director of the R.B.I. program that they would have the opportunity to play a game on an NCAA Division I baseball field.

The Lipscomb baseball coaching staff, head coach Jeff Forehand and assistant coaches Chris Collins, Brian Ryman and Lantz Wheeler, prepared the field for the game.

The umpires were from the Atlantic Sun Conference.

The game day atmosphere was the same as it would be for a Lipscomb baseball game with the scoreboard, music, a p.a. announcer and two announcers on the field. The teams were introduced individually and lined up on the base paths.

The event was coordinated by Steve Davidson through IMPACT.