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Mariners go to bat for youth baseball, softball

Club initiates grant to benefit programs throughout Washington
MLB.com @gregjohnsmlb

SEATTLE -- The Mariners introduced a new grant program on Monday that offers $5,000 for up to 10 high school baseball and softball programs across the state of Washington to help pay for equipment, field maintenance and other expenses for the coming year.

High school baseball and softball teams can apply for the Mariners Care Equipment Donation Grant by downloading the application and returning it to the Mariners by noon PT on Nov. 20.

SEATTLE -- The Mariners introduced a new grant program on Monday that offers $5,000 for up to 10 high school baseball and softball programs across the state of Washington to help pay for equipment, field maintenance and other expenses for the coming year.

High school baseball and softball teams can apply for the Mariners Care Equipment Donation Grant by downloading the application and returning it to the Mariners by noon PT on Nov. 20.

Winners will be chosen by Jan. 15 and the funds awarded by the end of February.

"Baseball and softball are a great opportunity for girls and boys to exercise, learn teamwork and have fun," Mariners CEO John Stanton said. "Through the Mariners Care Equipment Donation Grant, we will support baseball and softball programs and help make organized, competitive play available to more kids across the state of Washington."

As adequate funding for education continues to be a difficult challenge across the country, athletic programs, faced with shrinking budgets, are increasingly forced to rely on crowdfunding and "pay to play" models that shift the burden to student athletes.

By contributing to the costs of such things as uniforms, equipment and field maintenance, the Mariners are hoping the grant program can ease the pressure on struggling programs and make it possible for more student-athletes to participate.

The grant program is part of several initiatives introduced in 2017 through Mariners Care, the team's nonprofit foundation, to bolster support for youth baseball and softball organizations in the Northwest. Other efforts include support for 11 Seattle Mariners Grand Slam Camps that reached hundreds of kids throughout western Washington, coaching clinics at Safeco Field in partnership with the Positive Coaching Alliance, and the #CHOOSERESPECT program in partnership with the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

More information about Mariners Care is available at Mariners.com/Community.

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

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

Seattle Mariners