Second Inning. New Sponsors on Deck!



New sponsors have stepped up to the plate, but they are no rookies! No introduction needed for these major players, as they contributed largely in last year’s Challenger Clinic. Both, heavily involved in their local community are very excited about this year’s clinic. So, be sure to play your part and sign up for the Challenger Clinic! We thank all of our sponsors because without them this event would not be possible!

See you at the ballgame!


Clinic Star Makes the Big League!

Clinic Star Makes the Big League!

From Salem to Boston! For those of you who attended last year’s Salem Red Sox Challenger Clinic this man should look pretty familiar. Jackie Bradley Jr., a former Salem Red Sox player and Challenger Clinic star, made his big league debut on Monday against the Yankees. After 138 games in the minor league his dream of playing in the big league finally game true. Although, this was no easy feat for the 22 year old. Bradley wasn’t highly recruited out of high school (though he did end up getting a scholarship offer from the University of South Carolina), and he was likewise little noticed as a draft prospect. However, during his time at South Carolina, he made quite the impression. In Buster Olney’s Insider blog, he quotes a scout who saw Jackie Bradley Jr. play at South Carolina.

“Player carries the ‘it’ factor. Presidential presence to game. Regal. However, the player has been the most popular man in Colombia, S.C. from the 1st day he walked on campus and he had me glued to the TV last year watching the College World Series. Mesmerizing defender. Jaw-dropping defensive skills. Patrols CF with a determined grace, with flare. Would have happily paid good money just to watch his pregame batting practice and infield. Acrobatic and skilled. Catches every ball with flare. Covers ground like a gladiator. Plus handles the glove in CF like Omar Vizquel would in the infield. Amazing defensive skills. Innate ability to hawk the diamond. Better defender in center field than majority of major leaguers right now& [You] can’t teach the things this kid can do defensively. Made the parallel play coming directly in on a ball ala 1998 Andruw Jones. Sick defender.”

However, Bradley went from being the best player on the best college team in the country, to status as the No. 40 overall selection in the 2011 draft. The Boston red Sox who had an opportunity to draft Bradley in 2011 are quite lucky to have him this year, as he could have been making his debut in Yankee Stadium on Monday wearing those iconic pinstripes of the Yankees rather than a Sox’ uniform. With a run-saving catch, three walks including a critical one against one of the top pitchers in the game, a game-changing hustle play on the bases, Bradley has made quite a debut! and contributed to an 8-2 win over the Yankees!

Don’t forget to sign up for this year’s Challenger Clinic taking place Saturday, June 15th. Don’t miss your chance to become friends with a future MLB star!

See you at the ballgame!

Batter Up Sponsors!

Hey batter batter. That’s right. Yesterday was opening day for the MLB and the Boston Red Sox took home a win over long time rival the New York Yankees!! But, the MLB players aren’t the only ones to batter up! The Salem Red Sox Challenger Clinic has been winning as well with the help of their new sponsors. So, who are the first sponsors to step up to the plate?


First up to bat is Atlantic Precision Resource (APR), a leading supplier of rubber,plastic and metal components and supply chain management solutions. In addition to sourcing standard parts, they deliver innovative custom solutions for various industrial applications. Since 1986, they have carefully assembled a network of ISO-9001 and TS-16949 certified suppliers who specialize in producing the custom components their customers need. Their stringent quality monitoring processes enable them to deliver to your exacting specifications — on time, every time — at prices that keep you competitive.


The second is Aquaturf, Inc. They are located in Roanoke, Virginia and provide quality Automated Turf Irrigation and Landscape Lighting Systems to the Roanoke Valley, New River Valley, Smith Mountain Lake and Lexington.

The third is Signspot, a local Blacksburg Business that makes all sorts of banners, stickers, and signs.
Last up to bat is Genavision Promotional Products. Genavision is a brand new promotional business that makes things like shirts with custom designs and is based out of Pearisburg, VA.
If you are interested in joining these sponsors at the ballgame, please email Cathy Kropff.
See you at the ballgame!

The Players Have a Ball Too!



(Adalberto Ibarra & Christian Vazquez pictured)


We couldn’t tell who was having more fun at last years clinic! The kids and their families or the Salem Red Sox players?! Yes, it is all about the kids, but the players look forward to this day just as much as the kids. “The kids really touched the player’s hearts,” says Cathy Kropf, co-creator of the program.

At the end of the clinic last year we figured the kids would love to have baseballs autographed by all of the players. So, the players sat at a long table where they could sign baseballs and other memorabilia for all the kids and each player had a sheet of paper with their name indicating where they were supposed to sit. As the kids came along they would hand the players and coaches a baseball to be signed, but as the players and coaches were signing the balls, they noticed the kids were grabbing the pens and signing the white pieces of paper that had their names on it. After the autograph session was over, the volunteers were just going to throw the papers away, but the players stopped them because they wanted to keep the kids’ autographs. And sure enough, before the game that night, those very sheets of paper were found hanging in the players lockers.

Teamwork Makes The Dream Work! So, make a Salem Red Sox player’s day and sign up!!

See you at the ballgame!

Are YOU Volunteer Material?


Meet Tyler, a volunteer from last year’s clinic. We wanted to hear about Tyler’s exciting experience at the ballgame, so we asked him to share with us how not only he was able to help out creating an unforgettable day for these families, but also how rewarding this experience was for him!

1.     Tell us about your involvement with the Salem Red Sox Challenger Clinic.

“It was actually right when I moved to Blacksburg from my hometown in Texas. I’m a graduate student and work for the marketing department in Rec Sports. I had never been to Blacksburg or Salem before, but my boss Cathy said she needed some help with a baseball clinic for kids so I said absolutely! She knew I had experience in filming, so I took all the video of the event and posted a short clip of the day on youtube. It was a great “first day of work!”

 2.     What made you get involved with the Salem Red Sox Challenger Clinic?

At first it was a favor for my boss. I hadn’t technically started working for the Rec Center yet, but I thought it would be a fun way to start getting to know Cathy and it sure was! I had a great time and can’t wait for this year’s clinic. It definitely won’t be just a favor this time.

3.     What did you find to be the most rewarding about the entire experience?

Getting to see how happy the kids were to get to play with the baseball players was awesome. It was also really cool to see how great the players and coaches were with the kids. They are these super busy guys with a lot of pressure on them, but they still took an entire day even on game day to play with these kids. Just a super bunch of guys.

4.     Did you have a favorite moment at the clinic?

I was the videographer for the event, so I didn’t get to play with the kids or players which was kind of disappointing, but there was this one moment where I was sitting by myself and this little girl saw me and sat down next to me with a smile from ear to ear and grabbed my hand. We sat, had some lunch, and a lot of laughs. She was really adorable, it made my day.

5.     Are you volunteering again this year?

Absolutely! Next year, I hope I get to play with the kids some more though. I want to play some baseball too!

If you think you have what it takes and would like to sign up to be a volunteer at this years Challenger Clinic, please email Cathy Kropff.

See you at the ballgame!

Heres The Pitch!


So, what’s this all about?

The Salem Red Sox Challenger Baseball Clinic is a free one-day event with the Salem Red Sox players and staff. The event, now open to all families of special needs children in the southwestern region of Virginia is hosted by Bulldog Field Equipment and the Salem Red Sox and is responsible for promoting Challenger Baseball and more specifically the Virginia District 12 Challenger League.
Challenger Baseball is a Little League baseball division for boys and girls with physical and mental challenges, ages 4-22. More than 30,000 children participate in over 900 Challenger Divisions worldwide. The Virginia District 12 Roanoke Challenge League was started by Sid Witt, Jr. and his father Sid Witt, Sr. in 1989 and now has eight teams and 100 players who participate in the league from April to the end of June.
The fundamental goal of Challenger Baseball is to give everyone a chance to play – every player bats each inning and plays the field, there is no score and no outs. Challenger athletes not only learn the fundamentals of baseball but also experience being part of a team and being cheered on by family and friends while building their social skills and self-esteem.

Take a look at this video from last years clinic:

To find out more about the clinic and how YOU can sign up or volunteer please visit the Challenger Clinic website.

See you at the ballgame!