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Astros UYA celebrates 6 receiving scholarships

Academy players earn offers to play baseball, softball in college
MLB.com @brianmctaggart

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros Urban Youth Academy celebrated having six players receive scholarship offers to play baseball and softball in college with a signing ceremony Wednesday.

Included in the group was Brooke Dibler, who became the first Astros RBI/UYA softball scholarship recipient. She has signed to play for Prairie View A&M University. Signing baseball scholarships were Lance Byron (Prairie View), Myles Campbell (Blinn Junior College), Isaiah Meyers (Wharton Junior College), Tyron Thomas (Prairie View) and Kaelon Woods (Prairie View).

HOUSTON -- The Houston Astros Urban Youth Academy celebrated having six players receive scholarship offers to play baseball and softball in college with a signing ceremony Wednesday.

Included in the group was Brooke Dibler, who became the first Astros RBI/UYA softball scholarship recipient. She has signed to play for Prairie View A&M University. Signing baseball scholarships were Lance Byron (Prairie View), Myles Campbell (Blinn Junior College), Isaiah Meyers (Wharton Junior College), Tyron Thomas (Prairie View) and Kaelon Woods (Prairie View).

Astros Urban Youth Academy

Urban Youth Academy director Daryl Wade said most of the players signed during the early signing period, but they used national signing day as an opportunity to bring the group together to celebrate the achievement.

"It's a big day for them," Wade said. "Last year, at the early signing period, we only had two kids sign [Evian Benjamin and Pablo Salazar] -- our first two kids to ever sign actual baseball scholarships, and one of those kids ended up getting drafted [Salazar] later in the spring."

The Astros UYA, which opened in 2010, is run by the Astros Foundation and provides free baseball and softball instruction, life skills training and academic support to Houston youth, with a focus on serving inner-city and at-risk children and teens.

Baseball and softball camps, clinics and other activities are provided by experienced instructors, free of charge. The UYA staff also provides mentoring, leadership development and assistance with the college application process. In addition to baseball and softball instruction, the Astros UYA offers weekly tutoring to its members after school, from full-time classroom teachers.

Wade said the Astros UYA has now sent 21 players to play baseball in college.

"It gives them an opportunity to play and be seen," Wade said. "Baseball right now is a very expensive sport to play. A lot of the kids -- and you don't know what their parents' finances are -- it's difficult for kids to be seen and hard for colleges to recruit them during the time they're playing. If we can give them the opportunity play in the summer, it helps these kids be seen by pro scouts and a lot of college coaches."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Houston Astros