East 10th Street Baseball and Softball
Three years ago, ME’s Team and the Martin County North Little League combined their resources to bring baseball to the children of East Stuart. With an initial combined contribution of $20,000, Guy Davis Field was renovated and converted to a Little League Baseball facility. In the winter of 2009, the 10th Street program was born with a players clinic conducted by Major League and college players as well as high school coaches from around the Treasure Coast. In the spring, the Scrappers of East Stuart – 12 little boys, one manager, and two coaches became the pioneers of a baseball and softball renaissance in East Stuart when they began play in the minors division of the Martin County North Little League. Just three years later, four baseball teams and one girls softball team represent 10th Street. The program has teams playing in five Little League divisions — junior league (13-14 year olds), major league (11-12 year olds), minor league (9-10 year olds), coach pitch (7-8 year olds) and major league softball (11-12 year old girls).
Every East Stuart player is sponsored by M.E.’s Team (i.e., our foundation pays their registration fee and all the costs associated with their teams). For Scott Proctor, this cause is personal as he “gives back” to a community that helped him discover and nurture his passion for baseball.
What others are saying East Stuart Youth Initiative Baseball Program
The East Stuart community has a rich history for baseball that has been dormant for more than 20 plus years. Beginning in 1925, the community was home to the East Stuart Dodgers, a semi-pro squad that became one of the Florida east coast’s strongest teams in the 1950s. During the Major League Baseball Spring Training, many of the black players training in Vero Beach would make their way to East Stuart because it reminded them of the home atmosphere they left behind.
City of Stuart Commissioner Jim Christie, who played center field for the East Stuart Dodgers for 13 years beginning in the ‘50s, said he was delighted to see baseball come back to East Stuart. “It was more than just baseball, it used to be a social thing,” Christie said. “People would come from Fort Pierce, Vero Beach and West Palm Beach to watch those guys play.”
Three years ago baseball was re-introduced to the children of East Stuart with the help of Scott and Carrie Proctor and M.E.’s Foundation. The 10th Street Baseball program has proven to be an incredible vehicle for our recreation staff to teach life lessons. With great effort we promoted a Student/Athlete mentality in all of our players. The kids in our program understand that their grades will be checked regularly and that any discipline referrals at school will result in a temporary suspension from playing baseball or softball. Needless to say, early on in the development of this program, we were tested by the players and had to forfeit a few games due to not having enough players to field a team. We have moved past a tough start and conditioned the players to do what they have to do so they can do what they want to do, which is play baseball.
The lessons have been learned and the expectations have been established. The most visible impact that baseball has made in this community can be seen when the kids play a home game and the stands are packed with people showing their support and cheering them on. There is a sense of pride that shows on everyone’s faces. An added bonus for us this year is that the players have the privilege of claiming the League Championship for the 2011 Martin County North Little League Program.
An opportunity can come in many ways, through academics, athletics and raw talent. We strive to celebrate the day when one of our players will have the opportunity to go to school and play collegiate baseball on scholarship while chasing their dream of playing baseball at a higher level.
On behalf of the staff and the City of Stuart Community Services Division as well as the players and families of the 10th Street Baseball program, we would like to thank M.E.’s Foundation for helping us save the world through recreation one child at a time.
Jeffery S. Montpetit
Supervisor City of Stuart
Community Services Division