New Castle News

April 13, 2014

Shenango baseball team knocks it out of the park with toy drive

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — The Shenango High baseball team hit a home run with kids at Children’s Hospital.

Led by Tyler Booher and Anthony Prestopine, the Wildcats spent the last two months conducting a toy drive to benefit the young patients of the Pittsburgh facility. They ended up with about 200 items.

“We had a contest between infielders and outfielders for who could bring in the most,” head coach Mike Othites noted. “Plus, our faculty in both buildings supported this well.”

That supported was sparked by a letter from Booher to teachers in both Shenango’s junior-senior high and elementary school buildings.

“I’ve been playing baseball since I was four years old ... The number one lesson baseball taught me is the value of teamwork,” he wrote.

“The second lesson I learned was to deal with adversity ... (As in baseball), there are going to be times in everyone’s life when things get tough. What I learned is how to get over those humps and how to deal with that adversity.

“Unfortunately, there are some children who have been handed a life full of misfortune at a young age. The Shenango High Baseball Team would like to help put a smile on the face of some of these children.”

That effort wrapped up this week with a team breakfast cooked up by coaches and their families, after which the players and coaches packed the toys and headed down to Children’s Hospital to deliver them.

While there, they also spent two hours playing bingo with some of the patients.

Dean Owrey, a Shenango High graduate and school board member who also is the chief financial officer of UPMC’s information services division, expressed his gratitude for the Wildcats’ efforts in an email to the team and the district.

“The impact from our team’s toy drive to the patients and family members who participated in yesterday’s bingo, and to those patients who had toys hand-delivered by our players, will not be measurable,” Owrey wrote.

“However, for a brief period of time, we can know with confidence that their attention was diverted to something happier and that our players were shown that helping one another is a worthy effort.”

The team, Booher wrote, “is determined to make this project a part of our legacy.”

“We do our best to shine on the field, but we also want to shine off the field and become the best young men we can.”