Former Pro Gives Hope To Local Baseball Players

This little league team known as the Padres is practicing up for the season opener coming up in a few weeks.

But for them, the season is not simply about learning the rules of the game, or even winning.

It's about...

"Having fun," said 10 year old Jaylon White.

And fortunately, they, along with the rest of the Gulfport Youth Sports Association, can have fun with new gear, thanks to a person whose career they all aspire to have - former major league baseball player Ryan Thompson.

Through their organization Put Me N Coach, Thompson and his wife Charon brought numerous boxes filled with bats, gloves, and other equipment needed to help the children hopefully knock one out of the park this season.

"We asked the children of Indianapolis to be the ones to donate. We encouraged the parents to make it a gift from the kids to the kids. And we told the kids that if they didn't have the money to buy new equipment that they could share their gently used equipment that they had outgrown with the kids here in the Gulf Coast," said Charon Thompson.

"We had plenty of people that have lost their homes and in their homes and garages, they've lost their baseball equipment and all their things, so they need these things to play this year," said Gulfport Youth Sports Association president Ricky Dombrowski.

And 9-year-old Harry Beaugez is extremely grateful for the special delivery.

"I think that's great for them. Why? Because they're being nice to us," said Beaugez.

"You take something away from them after this catastrophic comes through and tears away their living as they're used to, and now all of a sudden, you give them back something? You give them a little bit of hope, and just a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing," said Ryan Thompson.