Category Archives: Jr. RBI Summer League



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


Jaelynn Hernandez
6 years old
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
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

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.

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

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.

SPOTLIGHT: 10U Baseball Cubs

RBI Austin Spotlight: 10U Baseball Cubs

You know what time it is!

Meet this week’s spotlights: Blaise, Ricky, and Travis from the 10U Baseball Cubs!

Travis and Blaise have been a part of the RBI Austin family for 3 years now and have experienced the “comradery” that the game of baseball provides.

Coach Ricky mentions that the kids are what made him come back for his 2nd summer coaching. See more below!

Blaise Kizer

9 yrs old
10U Baseball Cubs
3rd Year with RBI Austin

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

Blaise: This is my 3rd year! I started playing when I was in t-ball.

Q: What keeps you coming back?

Blaise: I like the game of baseball, it makes me happy. Every year I get to learn more and get better and better.

Q: What do you hope to learn this year?

Blaise: I want to get better at catching and hopefully hit more balls.

Q: What is something that you learned from your coach or teammates?

Blaise: I learned to hit, catch, and to always have fun!

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

Blaise: My coaches and parents. My parents always take me to baseball, and my coaches are always pushing me to be better.

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

Blaise: I think it’s important so that you can make friends and have fun.

Ricky Epps

10U Baseball Cubs Coach
2nd year with RBI Austin

Q: How long have you been coaching for RBI?

Ricky: This is my second year coaching. I returned this year because I love the kids. They make my life a little bit better. They bring joy in my life a lot. When I’m stressed out they make me more happy.

Q: What made you decide to coach last year?

Ricky: I had a lot of opportunities when I was younger to play, so I don’t want to waste my talent. I want to teach these young boys how to play baseball. I played when I was younger, and my dad played major league baseball for the Cincinnati Reds.

Q: Who is the biggest influence on your life?

Ricky: My wife and my kids. They are the ones who make me enjoy life in the morning. I was never a morning person until I married my wife. They make my life perfect.

Q: What is the best part about coaching the 10U Cubs?

Ricky: They are coachable. They listen. They learn. It’s “yes sir/no sir” on the field. They are very disciplined and show up to practice and games. We don’t have to do a lot of yelling at these kids. We aren’t lacking much. I coached six of these kids last year, so I decided to coach 10U baseball this season to stick with them.

Q: How do think baseball betters the player #BeyondtheField?

Ricky: Baseball teaches discipline and respect. It teaches you how to grow. It teaches you the world of life. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you don’t fail. Some things are going to be easy, and some things are going to be hard.

Travis Kizer

Father of Blaise Kizer
10U Baseball Cubs
3rd year with RBI Austin

Q: Since you are a returning RBI Austin parent, what keeps you enrolling Blaise?

Travis: He keeps wanting to play and he has played with several of the RBI kids for years.

Q: What is one thing you hope Blaise will learn, whether it is baseball skills or non-baseball skills?

Travis: I hope that he continues to keep playing well, and I hope that the team keeps building and getting to know each other better so that they have that comradery.

Q: What is your favorite thing about having Blaise play baseball?

Travis: I love watching him play and I love that he loves it!

Q: Why do you think it’s important about having team sports?

Travis: It builds comradery and a unique community. Even as a whole, RBI Austin has a baseball community. I recognize players and parents on several other teams.

SPOTLIGHT: 12U Baseball Astros

RBI Austin Spotlight: 12U Baseball Astros

This week, we’re jumping into the 12U Baseball Astros’ dugout! Meet Bruce, Travis, and Christina.

Bruce Gusman

Q: With this being your first season with RBI Austin, what do you hope to learn this season from your coach or teammates?

Bruce: I hope to learn about the different positions and specifically I want to learn and get better in the outfield.

Q: Who has influenced you the most in your life?

Bruce: The biggest influence in my life is my mom because she is always encouraging and supportive even when they lose games.

Q: What’s the best part about playing baseball/softball? What do you look forward to about playing for your RBI team?

Bruce: I love getting to meet new friends through RBI and learning more about the game of baseball.

Travis Gauntt 

Q: With this being your first RBI Austin season coaching, why did you decide to coach this year?

Travis: I grew up in baseball family & played baseball growing up so I love the sport. Additionally, I just moved to Austin and am finishing up my MBA at Texas so I had some free time to coach.

Q: Who has influenced your life the most?

Travis: My dad was the greatest influence in my life. He was an incredible role model, played baseball and was able to coach me. He is an incredible man professionally, personally, spiritually. He has helped shape who I am today.

Q: What’s the best part about coaching? Is there anything in particular that you look forward to during the week about getting to coach?

Travis: My favorite thing about coaching is that I get to make a difference in these kids’ lives and give back to them. I especially enjoy practices because that’s where I get to coach and teach and get to know the kids.

Christina Gonzalez 

Q: Why did you decide to enroll your child in RBI baseball/softball this summer? What do you hope they will learn besides baseball/softball skills?

Christina: Bruce’s friend from school told him about RBI and he came home and pulled it up on the internet and asked me to register him for the RBI summer league.

Q: What is your favorite part about having your kids participate in RBI?

Christina: RBI is so good for the boys and they really enjoy it so far. I love how organized RBI is. Everything is run smoothly, and I haven’t had any issues yet. I love that the boys get to make new friends and that he has good influences in his life.

RBI Austin Parent Workshops

RBI Austin Parent Workshops

This Saturday, you are invited to our RBI Austin Parent Workshop (see flyer for more information) led by the Positive Coaching Alliance! It will be from 10am-Noon at The For the City Center.

Before and after the workshop, our RBI Uniform Shop will be open for anyone who would like to purchase pants, belts, socks, or parent t-shirts.  By attending the Parent Workshop, you can purchase an RBI Austin parent t-shirt for 50% off ($5 instead of $10)!

We also have a second workshop / uniform shop date scheduled for June 14th. See below for all the details.

WHAT: RBI Austin Parent Workshop & Uniform Shop

WHERE: The For the City Center (500 E. St. Johns Ave., Austin, TX 78752) in the Ridgetop room


  • OPTION 1
    THIS Saturday, June 9th from 10am-12pm (Uniform Shop opens at 9am)
  • OPTION 2
    NEXT Thursday, June 14th from 6:30pm-8:30pm (Uniform Shop opens at 5:30pm)


BONUS: Attend one of these workshops and get 50% off of our RBI Austin parent t-shirt (Original Cost: $10, You Pay $5).

RBI Austin Uniform Shop

Still need to purchase your player’s belts, pants, and socks? The RBI Austin Uniform Shop will be open on Saturday, June 9th from 9am-12pm in the same room as this workshop.

At the Parent Workshop, we will focus on player and parent development through:

  • Learn how to help your athletes get the most from the youth sports experience
  • Learn how to establish and maintain a positive competitive environment inside youth sports
  • Develop skills to manage failure on and off the field
  • Understand how to help your athlete be the best version of themselves and compete with integrity

We hope to see you there!

Countercultural Pursuit: Q&A with JJ Garza

Q&A with JJ Garza

In the world of youth sports, it seems a little countercultural to chase down your players.

If the player wants to be there, then it’s his or her responsibility to get to practice, arrive to games on time, to be prepared and engaged.


Meet JJ Garza, one of our veteran RBI Austin coaches, who has pursued his players even when it’s been hard. See how JJ and his family have engaged the families of their T-Ball Rockies team, embodied the mission + culture of RBI Austin, and how it’s impacted everyone involved.

Q: Is there one player or family in particular that comes to your mind who you’ve specifically and intentionally had to pursue and who you’ve seen feel more a part of RBI/your team because of this? Can you tell us about your relationship?

We first met Sergio Melendez in the summer of 2016.  I say “we” because my wife and kids were an integral part in building a relationship with Sergio and his family.  

Sergio was a very shy four year old.  I noticed him coming out of his shell with a little attention and praise during practice.  I came to find out he was the only boy in a family full of girls.  RBI was his first experience in a team environment.  We asked our daughter Emma to show him the ropes a little.  Soon both of my kids were engaging Sergio more in conversation.   Throughout the season you could see his confidence grow along with his smile. We witnessed his effort and engagement in the game increase.

My wife, Danette, was wonderful in engaging Nikki, Sergio’s mother. The following season, Nikki registered her daughter, Sophia, with RBI and joined our team. Sophia was a tiny little thing experiencing the same engagement-issues as her big brother.  It was wonderful to see how Sophia was quickly accepted and brought into the fold.

Nikki and her kids have attended my kid’s birthday parties and other events with my family.  My kids get excited when they see Sergio, their friend. 

Q: What are some challenges you’ve faced in coaching with RBI?

I had no coaching experience when I started with RBI.  I signed up to be assistant coach; to observe and learn.  To this day, I don’t know how I ended up with my own team.  Nonetheless, I am happy it worked out the way it did.  It forced me to learn and grow, not only with baseball, but as a communicator, specifically with young kids.

Q: How has your mentality or approach had to change or adjust since coaching with RBI? 

I was “drills” driven in the beginning.  I thought that repetition was the most important thing in coaching.  But, I quickly learned that 4-6 yr old’s attention span is extremely short.  So, I had to incorporate some FUN drills and not call them “drills”.  Bottom line, I had to learn to make practice and games fun for the kids.  I needed to be reminded that it is just a “game.”

Q: Has it been worth it? Why? 

I’m going on my 4th year coaching now.  Every year, it seems I prepare sooner and sooner to the start of the new league year.  I’m reading, watching videos, attended group discussion on how to positively use baseball as a venue to impact young lives.  

It has been worth it. 

I’ve received so much back, more than I put in I think.  I’ve grown so much in coaching but most of all as a father to my own kids.  The skills I’ve learned with RBI are not only applicable in coaching baseball, but have been beneficial skills as a father as well.

It’s been a fun ride.


We’d love to hear your RBI story! How did you get involved with us? Why have you been involved? Stories of hope and encouragement? Stories of seeing the Lord change hearts? Stories about how your time with RBI has shaped or changed you?

The Lord has given us all a story, and we want to hear how He’s used RBI — no matter how small of a part — in yours!

Share your RBI Austin story!