DUNLAP — The South Bend Silver Hawks returned the love Saturday, June 28, at Concord Little League.
Less than 12 hours after playing a 12-inning game before 6,508 fans at Four Winds Field, four players from the minor league baseball club endured drizzle and humidity while volunteering for a free 75-minute clinic.
The event for baseball and softball players ages 12-and-under was a collaboration of the Silver Hawks, Concord Little League and Flavor 574.
"It's all about giving back," said Breland Almadova. "It's always nice to give back to the community and to the kids who come out to our game and support us."
Brought to the park by team president Joe Hart, outfielder Almadova of Hawaii, pitcher Blake Perry of Kentucky, first baseman Daniel Palka of South Carolina and outfielder Stryker Trahan of Louisiana put dozens of kids through defensive drills.
Each Little Leaguer had a chance to swing the bat. An impromptu home run hitting contest for the older players was won by Kaleb Sotebeer.
Almadova and Trahan were able to teach outfielders about hustle and communication in the outfield.
"Don't slow down when you're running," said Almadova to a collection of little flyhawks. "Full extension."
The "I got it" drill told the outfielders to how to take charge and to back off when one is in position to make the catch.
"You've got to scream louder," said Trahan to the young clinic attendees.
The thing Perry enjoyed most was meeting so many kids who were enjoying themselves.
"We just get to come and hang out with them," said Perry. "That's what's fun for me."
Hart, the 2013 Midwest League Executive of the Year, said it is part of the Silver Hawks' mission to get into the outlying community and get to know fans of all ages.
"We've had great support," said Hart. "This is a way to say thank you."
Another way of giving back to the community came in the way of food donations by the Little Leaguer's families for Church Community Services. Concord Little League president Brandon Roell said a anonymous donor pledged to match the giving.