Austin’s MLB Reviving Baseball In Inner-Cities 18U Team Wins Bid to RBI World Series in Minneapolis

Austin’s MLB Reviving Baseball In Inner-Cities 18U Team Wins Bid to RBI World Series in Minneapolis

Baseball is very much alive in Austin, Texas.

This past weekend, Austin’s MLB Reviving Baseball in Inner-Cities affiliate — RBI Austin — hosted the MLB RBI Southwest Regional where teams from four organizations — Houston Astros RBI, New Orleans RBI, Texas Rangers RBI, and RBI Austin — competed for the opportunity to advance to the 2018 RBI World Series in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Regional included three divisions: 15U Baseball, 18U Baseball, and 18U Softball.

RBI Southwest Regional Champions

RBI Austin’s 18U Regional team defeated Houston Astros RBI 4-0 on Sunday, July 29th at Dell Diamond to win the tournament.  After securing three wins in the previous games over the weekend, the Austin boys pulled off this final victory to land them an all-expenses-paid trip to Minnesota to compete against other RBI teams from around the United States as well as Uganda, Curacao, and Puerto Rico.

Eric Worden (McCallum High School ‘18) pitched a complete game shutout on Sunday, leading RBI Austin to its 4-0 Regional championship game victory. Outfielder Harrison Lee (LBJ/LASA High School ‘18) competed at the plate throughout the weekend with three triples. First baseman Aidan Martinez (Hays High School ‘19) set the tone in the first game of the Regional with a walk-off single in extra innings over Houston.

Prior to RBI Austin defeating Houston on Sunday to earn its first 18U RBI Regional championship in program history, Houston had won the 18U RBI Southwest Regional championship in 10 of the past 11 years. Houston Astros RBI alumni include MLB players Anthony Rendon, Chris Young, Carl Crawford, and James Loney.

MLB RBI Regionals + World Series

Over the past several weeks, more than 110 RBI baseball and softball teams competed in Regional tournaments across seven U.S. regions and one World region.

The 26th annual RBI World Series will be hosted by the Minnesota Twins in Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 5-10 and includes tournament games, workout days, banquets, community service events and more. During this five day competition, the RBI Austin team will participate in a showcase where they can further demonstrate their skills.

The MLB RBI program is designed to promote the games of baseball and softball to young men and women in underserved and diverse communities where, often times, sports programs and initiatives are lacking or unobtainable.

MLB Clubs have drafted more than 200 RBI participants throughout the program’s 30-year history, and many others have been given the opportunity for higher education through baseball and softball scholarships. RBI currently serves young men and women in over 300 programs in approximately 200 cities worldwide. MLB and its Clubs have designated more than $40 million worth of resources to the RBI program, and all 30 Clubs support RBI leagues (https://www.mlb.com/news/more-than-110-baseball-softball-teams-in-to-compete-in-rbi-regional-tournaments/c-286514254).

SPOTLIGHT: T-Ball Mets

SPOTLIGHT: T-Ball Mets

We’re wrapping up our Summer 2018 RBI Austin Spotlights with the mighty T-Ball Mets!

 

Jaelynn Hernandez
6 years old
TBALL Mets
2nd year with RBI Austin

Q: What’s your favorite thing about playing softball?
JaelynnTrying my best and learning how to hit the ball better.

Q: What do you hope to learn this summer?
JaelynnTo use my legs more. And to get better at throwing and hitting. I want to hit the ball hard because [I think about bullies and people who litter.]

Q: Who is one of your favorite people in your life?
JaelynnMy mom. And my uncle who helped me at home. We played catch out front!


Jessica Hernandez
Mother of Jaelynn
TBALL Mets
2nd year with RBI Austin

Q: How did you hear about RBI?
JessicaThrough her school. They had a spring carnival and had a booth set up and that’s how we learned about it. I had never heard about RBI at all and she’s my oldest, and because I never played sports, I said to do this! But, she liked it when we got her going and she played with RBI to start off with and then played fall ball, spring ball, and now she’s back again.

Q: How’s your experience with RBI been so far?
JessicaI like it! Everyone is real friendly and it’s really diverse. I like that she gets to play with people that are like her and everyone is really welcoming. It’s a good atmosphere all around.

Q: Who was the biggest influence on your life?
JessicaMy mom. It’s just me, my mom, and my brother. Family is like the thing that’s most important lesson that she’s taught us. She was adopted so she doesn’t have family. Family and that no matter what you do you can always go to her and tell her things without feeling that judgement or disappointment.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to be on a team sport?
JessicaI think it helps you care about others and care about feelings. I think that it shows a kid how to empathize and I think that’s what kids need to learn. It teaches self-worth and just basic social skills. How to treat others, how to work as one,  and how to work towards a goal as one team.


David Ciccocioppo
TBALL Mets Coach
5th year RBI Austin

Q: How did you hear about RBI?
DavidI think I heard about it through MLB. And then we moved to the East Side about seven years ago.

Q: What made you decide to coach?
DavidI really love the game. I played all growing up. I like the mission of RBI, I like the idea of giving the opportunity to inner city kids and the kids who don’t have the money for all the fancy equipment and all the select teams and all that kind of stuff. It gives them an old school way of coming out to the field and just playing. It’s competitive but it’s not like we’re training these guys to be major leaguers. It’s teaching them about competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, all that good stuff. And if my boys are going to be playing I have to be a coach because I can’t just sit back and watch them.

Q: What’s one thing you hope your t-ballers learn this summer?
DavidI want them to learn that this is a fun game. And I want them to feel it so that they come back next year.

Q: Who is one of the biggest influences on your life?
DavidI had this coach when I was in 4thgrade in Washington D.C. There was a Little League and my house was right there. There was a man named Doug Rice, I think he was married, but he was my coach from 4th– 8thgrade and I remember him being very motivational but he never had to yell. He was just one of those people who you want to make happy and want to please. He carried himself in a certain way that you wanted to make him proud.

Q: How do you think baseball, or any sport, betters a player #BeyondTheField?
DavidIt’s the whole idea of teamwork and sportsmanship. Dealing with losses and failures. Feeling the joys that come with successes. Those are all things that you experience in the real world when you get older. When you grow up and get a job, you have to deal with losing and winning and working with people. I like the idea that in baseball, everybody gets a turn at bat. That’s your one moment to shine but it’s still in the context of a team sport. You’re doing your part to help the team win, even though it’s hyper focused on you. You have this moment now where you can have a success or a failure, but it affects the whole team as well.

Sweet Glimpses of Transformation

Sweet Glimpses of Transformation

Whether you see it or not, your time as a volunteer is making an impact on the kids you serve.

They are watching you.

They are learning from you. 

Coach Sharon Thomas and her husband Kentrell have been leading their RBI Austin softball girls for the past 4 years with an intentional focus on developing both strong softball players and strong, Christian women. 

Their steadfastness is impacting the young women on their 16U Softball Dodgers team. 

The team’s three leaders — their captain, assistant captain, and team chaplain — are volunteering as umpires this summer for our Jr. RBI Softball divisions.

Coach Sharon shared about one experience of witnessing her girls developing into strong women. 

“One Saturday, I walked up to the game they were umpiring, and there they were huddled on the field praying together — just the three of them.”

“This is what we are helping them to learn. We do this as a team before our own games, and to see them doing this together on their own was really special.”

Sometimes the Lord is sweet and He shows us glimpses of transformation in one short summer. 

Sometimes He is sweet and gives us those glimpses after several years of being faithful to the relationships He’s put in front of us. 

Sometimes the Lord is just as sweet, and we never see the impact that our time, efforts, or prayers have in the lives of those we’ve cared for and invested in. 

Please know that whether you’ve seen it or not, your faithfulness as a volunteer is impacting future generations of inner-city Austin youth. 

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Events

Have you been running around all summer? Slow down, throw on your ball cap, grab some concession stand food, enjoy America’s favorite pastime, and see your impact in action at the ballpark! Attend one of our upcoming events. We’d love to see you there!

MLB RBI Southwest Regional Tournament

Cheer on our 15U + 18U RBI Austin Regional teams as they compete against RBI programs from across the southwest region — New Orleans RBI, Rangers RBI, and Astros RBI!

MLB RBI Southwest Regional Tournament: Featured Pool Play
July 28th at Concordia University
11400 Concordia University Drive, Austin, TX 78726

MLB RBI Southwest Regional Tournament: 15U + 18U Baseball Championship Games
July 29th at Dell Diamond (8:30am and 11am games)
3400 East Palm Valley, Round Rock, TX 78665

View the full regional schedule.

Triple-A for a Day

The Round Rock Express brings their big league environment and gameday crew to our Jr. RBI playoff games! Join us as we celebrate the end of the season together!

Jr. RBI Playoff Games with the Round Rock Express
August 4th at North Austin Optimist (5pm and 7:30pm games)
1105 Morrow Street, Austin, TX 78757

Alumni Return to Serve as Summer Staff

Alumni Return to Serve as Summer Staff

Every summer, RBI Austin brings on 4-6 summer interns to help put on our summer leagues. With the number of RBI Austin kids more than tripling over the past 5 years, we literally wouldn’t be able to function without these young men and women. 

We reserve at least two of these positions for RBI Austin alumni to intentionally continue in our mission of engaging and developing inner-city Austin youth athletically, academically, and spiritually, empowering them to lead the transformation of their communities.

Young men who once played in our programs are returning to help lead those same programs!

Meet Arhian Albis, one of our 2018 summer interns. Arhian is a 2017 graduate of Lanier High School and played with RBI Austin for the past four years. He even had the chance to go to the RBI World Series as a player in 2014. Arhian says that his teammates and mentors through RBI taught him that there are many similarities between baseball and life. 

“Through RBI Austin, I’ve learned qualities that make a good man including commitment, motivation, hard work, and being kind to everyone. My RBI Austin teammates and coaches shaped who I am today and taught me lessons I’ll use for the rest of my life.”

Arhian now mentors others younger than him. Moving beyond the field, Arhian just finished his freshman year at the University of Texas as a biology major. He plans to become an orthopedic surgeon. This summer Arhian is interning for RBI Austin as a way to pay it forward for all that RBI has done for him. 

SPOTLIGHT: 8U Coach Pitch Cardinals

SPOTLIGHT: 8U Coach Pitch Baseball Cardinals

Do we have any other parents or grandparents out there that leave your kiddo’s game hoarse?! We love hearing about parents + grandparents cheering on their children from the stands while coaches are seeing change + development + growth happening in the dugout, on the field, and beyond! 

Meet Lucas, his coach David, and grandmother Julia from the 8U Coach Pitch Baseball Cardinals.

Lucas Rodriguez – 8U Coach Pitch Baseball

8 Years Old
2nd Year with RBI Austin
8U CP Cardinals

 

Q:Is this your first year with RBI Austin?

Lucas: No, it’s my fourth. I’ve been playing baseball for RBI for two years.

 

Q: How did you hear about RBI?

Lucas: My grandma.

 

Q: Why did you want to play baseball out of all sports?

Lucas: I’m not sure.

 

Q: But you like it though?

Lucas: Correct.

 

Q:What is something you hope to learn this season?

Lucas: I’m not sure yet…

 

Q: Is there a position you want to get better at though?

Lucas: Catcher. I played it once and I liked it! I would want to get better at second and pitcher though.

 

Q: Why do you think it’s important to play on a team sport?

Lucas: Because you have a team and it doesn’t feel super good to not be on a team.

 

Q: Why do you like having your teammates?

Lucas: They help me get better!

 

Q: What is something you always look forward to when playing baseball?

Lucas: Games. You can play different positions and you can get points, but at practice you don’t get points.

Q:What’s your favorite baseball team?

Lucas: The Astros.

 

 

Coach David Brahmall

8U CP Cardinals

2nd Year RBI Austin coach

 

Q: How did you hear about RBI?

David: So I moved to Austin about five years ago, and I played baseball growing up. I had always been interested in volunteering and coaching baseball. I had some good friends at work that had coached for RBI and I had always wanted to do it and it sounded interesting but it never worked out until last year.

Q: What brought you back this year to coach again?

David: My co-coach Alex and I coached last year and we had a really good time with the kids — teaching them, helping them to engage, develop, and transform. Last year,  over half our team had never seen a baseball before. We had to teach them how to throw, how to run, how to get excited, and how to love the game. It was amazing to see our team, who at the beginning of the season was getting crushed, end the season winning a game in the playoffs. It was just amazing to see their skills develop and their attitude and determination change, not just in the game but beyond the field. Hopefully that translates to life, seeing that made me want to come back. We had four or five kids from last year, like Lucas, come back so we want to continue to serve them. Just to be able to do that again with more kids and be able to mentor them during the baseball season.

Q: Who is one of the biggest influences on your life?

David: I would say my dad. As far as baseball goes. He loved baseball, played baseball growing up, taught me baseball.  While my wife and I don’t have kids yet, I hope to teach them baseball at some point. Right now, I’m just hoping to teach other kids. But yeah, my dad for sports and life in general. I feel like he always taught me to have to power to succeed and to drive and to also encourage and help other people. He’s been a big influence on me in a lot of ways.

 

Julia Castillo

Grandmother of Lucas Rodriguez
2nd Year with RBI Austin
8U CP Cardinals

 

Q: What is one reason why you feel that a team sport is important?

Julia: I think its because of friendship and learning it’s not just about you. And working well with others. Learning that it’s “We did it, we did it together”, I think is awesome. Coaches like Coach David bring a lot to helping these kids promote each other and cheer each other on and be good sports to the other team. I like it when I see one of the teammates or Lucas high-five another kid coming off of the plate whether they hit the ball or didn’t.

Q: How do you think baseball or sports in general help #BeyondTheField?

Julia: Everywhere you go and everywhere you work you’re going to be working with a group to achieve something. Watching kids learn to do that and to respect each other and look past faults and difficulties and still be good sports about everything is really a life skill. It’s a skill you need when you go to work and for the rest of your life.

 

Q: What’s your favorite thing about having Lucas play baseball?

Julia: I come from Oklahoma and we only do baseball. Coming and watching these kids every game is amazing, watching them in the field is amazing, watching them achieve something and grow in self-confidence is [just amazing]. I leave here hoarse every game, I have no voice after every game.

RBI Austin to Host MLB RBI Southwest Regional Tournament

RBI Austin to Host MLB RBI Southwest Regional Tournament

For the first time ever, the MLB RBI Southwest Regional tournament is heading to Austin, Texas!

RBI Austin will play host to the 2018 RBI Southwest Regional Tournament for 15U and 18U Baseball and 18U Softball on July 26-29 in Austin, Texas. Teams from four organizations across the region — Astros RBI, New Orleans RBI, Rangers RBI, and RBI Austin — will compete for the opportunity to advance to the 2018 RBI World Series in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August.

The Regional pool play games will be held Friday and Saturday at Concordia University and Westwood High School. The Baseball championship games will be at Dell Diamond and the Softball championship game will be at Concordia University. 

View the complete regional schedule and more event details.

Triple-A for a Day 2018

Triple-A for a Day

Saturday, August 4th

What: Triple-A for a Day including playoff games
When: Saturday, August 4th

  • 5pm: 12U Softball Semifinal (NAO Field #5)
  • 6:45pm: Jr. RBI Closing Ceremonies (NAO Field #4)
  • 7:30pm: 12U Baseball Semifinal (NAO Field #4)

Where: North Austin Optimist (NAO) —  1105 Morrow St., Austin, TX 78757
Who: All RBI kids, families, volunteers, and friends!
Why: To celebrate the end of the season!

The Round Rock Express is bringing their gameday crew, fun, and entertainment to make the Jr. RBI Austin playoff games an event for the whole RBI Austin family.

So whether you’re playing in one of the playoff games or joining us in the stands, there will be fun for every player, family, and fan!

Have questions? Email us at info@rbiaustin.org.

SPOTLIGHT: 9U Softball Nationals

RBI Austin Spotlight: 9U Softball Nationals

Meet this week’s spotlights from the 9U Softball Nationals!

 

Nyah Muckerson

8 Years Old
1st Year with RBI Austin
9U SB Nationals

Q: Is this your first year playing with RBI?
Nyah: Yes. It is my first year playing RBI, not first time playing softball.

Q: How did you hear about RBI
Nyah: From my mom!

 

Q: What do you hope to learn this season in softball or skills outside of baseball?
Nyah: How to slide and stuff like that. My mom said if you don’t know how to slide and you don’t slide into home then it’s an out, and I don’t want to get out.

Q: Do you really like it?
Nyah:Yeah, it’s my favorite sport! I want to play forever.

Q: Who is one of the biggest influences on your life?
Nyah: Jackie Robinson. He was the first black person to play baseball.

Q: Why do you think it’s important to play on a team sport?
Nyah: Because if you’re not playing on a team you don’t necessarily have the experience of softball or a sport.

Q: What do you like most about having teammates?
Nyah: They cheer on for you.

Q: What’s one of your favorite things about the summer league? Practices or games?
Nyah: Both!

 

 Jacquelynn Dolly

 Mother of Nyah Muckerson
1st year with RBI Austin
9U SB National
 

Q: How did you hear about RBI?
Jacquelynn: A friend of a friend.

 

Q: Why did you decide to enroll her in RBI?

Jacquelynn: She just started playing in the spring, and I wanted her to get more experience. I heard good things about it so we enrolled!

 

Q: What is one thing that you hope Nyah will learn this summer?
Jacquelynn: I’m hoping she advances her softball skills and also just how to be a team player, like a real team player where she communicates with her team and hopefully a team leader.

 

Q: What do you think a team leader looks like? What qualities do they have?
Jacquelynn: She’s a positive role model, she cheers the team on, cheers her teammates on and shows them how the game is played.

 

Q: What is the best thing about having Nyah play softball?
Jacquelynn: I like that she gets to meet a lot of people from all kinds of backgrounds and hopefully she’s able to advance with them. Lifelong friends is what I’m hoping for and maybe they’ll play together in high school.

 

Q: Why do you think it’s important to play on a team sport?
Jacquelynn: They learn things that you cannot learn at school or at home. Working as a team versus being selfish and wanting to get the shine, I just think it’s important. Everything in life, when you go to work or school you have to do things as a team.

 

Q: How do you think the sport of softball prepares the player #BeyondtheField?
Jacquelynn:  Well with my child, I think it helps her think quicker. She has to be able to move and think and react. I don’t know about softball being a sport that teaches teamwork differently than any other sport. What I like about softball is that it’s with girls and it’s her first team sport where it’s just girls and you know they get to act like a girl and do girly things.

 

 

Rebecca Poulos 

9U SB Nationals Coach
2nd year with RBI Austin

 

Q: How did you learn about RBI last year?
Rebecca: I’ve been going to the Austin Stone community church for about eight years and RBI is talked about there because of For the City and the connection and how they work out of the same building. I did a women’s development program and they had a section where they talked about For the City and talked a lot about RBI.

 

Q: What made you come back this year?
Rebecca: I would say just because of how much joy it brings to coach a team. I got to coach a coach pitch team last year with the Benjamin family and there’s no greater joy than getting to play baseball during the summer with a bunch of 7 or 8 year-olds and getting to share my faith and tell them about Jesus. It’s an added bonus and probably the best part.

 

Q: What is something that you hope these kids will learn this summer?
Rebecca: Gosh, I think if anything how to play softball. I think the skills that they learn and just as a team, working together with other people and other girls that they may not know. Getting to know them and cheering each other on and I think at the end, just knowing that they’re known and loved, and that somebody cares for them, and that they can do anything.

 

Q: Who is one of the biggest influences on your life?
Rebecca: My parents. I love them, and they’ve done a lot for me and sacrificed a lot for me to get me where I am today. Loved me well and provided for me.

 

Q: Why did you want to coach this age group?
Rebecca: I’m a teacher for 3-5 year-olds so I’m not really around the older kids, but I think part of it is that after t-ball they kind of start developing skills and they’re pretty independent and so you’re just teaching them those skills. There is something about 7-8 year-olds and they’re fun to coach. They’re an enjoyable age group and bring a lot of joy. I think they’re able to communicate and they don’t necessarily need their mom and dad right behind them.

 

Q: How do you feel the game of softball improves players #BeyondTheField?
Rebecca: Well it motivates them, and it makes them push themselves to get out of their comfort zone and learn that they can do a lot of different things they may not have thought of before. It makes them work hard and develops something inside of them to try new things.

SPOTLIGHT: 12U Softball Mariners

RBI Austin Spotlight: 12U Softball Mariners

You know what time it is!

Meet this week’s spotlights: Sydney, Grant, and Lynn from the 12U Softball Mariners!

Sydney Floyd

12 yrs old
12U Softball Mariners
1st Year with RBI Austin

Q: How long have you been playing with RBI Austin?

Sydney: This is my first year with RBI. It is my third year playing softball though.

Q: How did you hear about RBI?

Sydney: We were looking for a sports program, so we looked one up and found RBI.

Q: What do you hope to learn this year?

Sydney: Fielding the ball better and hitting better. That’s what I’m working on right now, along with making new friends.

Q: What position do you like the most and why?

Sydney: I played outfield my first two years, but I like first base and catcher the most. I guess I like them because you get the ball more and you are more involved in the game.

Q: Who is one person that’s influenced your life the most?

Sydney: I don’t know, probably my parents. They just say to go for what you want and to do your best no matter what.

Q: Why do you think its important to be on a team sport and have teammates?

Sydney: So you can get to know people better and just make more friends.

 

Grant Herring

12U Softball Mariners Coach
2nd year with RBI Austin

Q: How long have you been coaching for RBI?

Grant: This is my second year coaching.

Q: What made you decide to coach last year?

Grant: Nothing really. I saw it online and wanted to get involved. I liked the mission once I saw the mission and it appealed to me really well. I had a lot of free time and a lot of knowledge about the sport, so that had something to do with it.

Q: What made you coach again this year?

Grant: A lot of my girls’ parents reached out to me and asked if I was coaching again because they wanted to be playing with me again, so I recruited a couple of my friends and we decided to team up and go at it.

Q: What is one thing that your girls that you’re coaching this year will learn?

Grant: I’d say teamwork and hustle. Eve when you’re older, you still need to understand to work as a team, you can’t do everything by yourself.

Q: Who is one of the biggest influences in your life?

Grant: I’d say my parents for sure. They raised me to be the man that I am and to treat everybody with respect.

Q: What is one way that you think RBI’s mission through softball better the player beyond the field?

Grant: Teamwork and hustle. That’s a lot of it for playing baseball and going into the workforce. It teaches the players life skills.

Lynn Floyd

Father of Sydney Floyd
12U Softball Mariners
1st year with RBI Austin

Q: How did you hear about RBI?

Lynn: We have some friends at the church we attend whose kids have participated and have told us about it. So we did some research online and found that we loved the mission of RBI baseball and its intentions.

Q: What is one thing you hope that Sydney will learn this season?

Lynn: I think with anything whether it’s baseball or some other activity, just whatever do have fun, but do things with excellence. Like if it’s a team sport, you know, do the best you can because it’s not just about you, but your team. You want to play well personally but you also want to play well to help your team.

Q: How has your experience with RBI been so far?

Lynn: Although it’s still early in the season, I am impressed with the way things are run. There’s intentionality in the coaching, very positive, and everybody gets a chance to play and gets their turn. The values of the organization are very much expressed through everything that’s done out here from the umpires to the coaches to the parents, so it definitely has impressed us.

Q: What is one of the biggest influences on your life?

Lynn: As a person of faith, God is the biggest influencer on my life. Apart from him, I can do nothing. Apart from him, I can’t be an effective parent. There’s been a lot of people throughout my life, my grandfather made a huge impact, youth leaders growing up in my life, were thankfully able to intersect my life with theirs at just the right time. Definitely people in my family and then also youth leaders, you know people in my teenage years that allowed me to get to know them at an important time in my life.

Q: What is one reason why you think it is important to play a team sport?

Lynn: Well, obviously it helps build a person’s character. You’re not only looking to your own interests but to the interests of others, I think a team is not just about a sport here but it’s also about preparing for other things in life. The things that kids learn here can be taken out into the real world.