The 2020 season will be dedicated to a larger cause for the Saint Ignatius baseball program.
The Wildcats are teaming up with My Inner Warrior this spring.
With My Inner Warrior, the Wildcats will work to raise money to provide greater opportunity throughout inner-city baseball programs.
My Inner Warrior is a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to improving youth baseball programs and allowing underprivileged youth to attend baseball showcases, opening opportunities for college scholarships. The organization has an Ignatius connection – Jack Siefert '17.
Siefert is the Director of Development for My Inner Warrior, working with major companies and helping to secure sponsorships. He'll communicate with business owners/management to get funding for My Inner Warrior. From there, Siefert assists with signage, banners, and some advertising.
"I am so proud of Jack Siefert and his passion for creating a program that will serve others," said Brad Ganor, the Wildcats' head baseball coach. "I think Jack was inspired by his time at Saint Ignatius to continue to serve far beyond his 4 years here. Not only is he a great baseball player but he's a better person."
Siefert works closely with Jack Hollinshead, the founder and executive director. Siefert and Hollinshead both attend Wittenburg University, playing baseball for the Tigers. A love of the sport led to the start of the initiative.
"Our goal is to help kids get to the next level in sports. Our college baseball experience has been great," Hollinshead said. "We want to bring that same experience to other kids. We use our talents to make it happen."
Siefert and Hollinshead hatched the idea of using HitTracker, as Siefert had seen the technology at Saint Ignatius.
"We wanted a way to partner our organization with teams across the country, and to teach the importance of giving back when you've been blessed," Hollinshead said. "Even though I only attended one showcase, my parents paid for that. There are kids who are much better than me, but don't have the money to get to the showcases in front of college coaches."
HitTracker makes it all possible.
Through that stat-tracking platform, teams can keep stats that translate to dollars. Fans can make a pledge per hit, such as 10 cents per hit for the season. For example, 200 hits equal a $20 donation. In the process, student-athletes can see how much money they raise per hit, providing an addition motivation to do something more during the season.
"Growing up, I've always had the equipment and opportunities to play baseball. Since being involved in My Inner Warrior, I've realized so many kids aren't exposed to baseball or don't have things necessary to play the game," Siefert said. "This combines a passion of mine (baseball) and the ability to work with kids who never take things for granted.
"For us, as much as we like to give back at Saint Ignatius, we take things for granted. That's the most important thing for me – giving back to kids who want to play but don't have the chance to."
At the end of the season, the tax-deductible donations go to My Inner Warrior. From there, the non-profit uses the money to donate new equipment to RBI baseball programs and to create free showcases for kids across the country to get in front of college coaches. Showcases in Cleveland, Miami, Los Angeles, Atlanta, and Houston are already in the works. And in the end, a small portion of the proceeds return to the teams themselves.
For the 2020 season, the Wildcats have a $2,000 goal.
"However much is earned, Coach Ganor and the players can get into the community and see the kids they're impacting," Siefert said. "They walk away with the realization that we're blessed and need to give back. That's important."
Ganor can't wait for his Wildcats to get started.
"We are thrilled to support My Inner Warrior," Ganor said. "We hope that Jack continues to serve others long after his playing days are over."