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Bishop’s athletes help youths

Players coaching in RBI program

The high school baseball season has long been over, but for three players from The Bishop’s School, that doesn’t mean the summer has been filled with any less time on the diamond.

Knights players Chris Ludwig, Doron Volcani and Jesse Jacobsen-Gal, who will all be seniors this year, have been busy during their time off from school coaching kids and spearheading an effort to collect baseball equipment for young players whose families might not be able to afford it.

Ludwig, Volcani and Jacobsen-Gal are coaches in a local league that is part of Major League Baseball’s Reviving Baseball in the Inner City (RBI) program. They work through the San Diego Hall of Champions to coach kids from 8 to 12 years old, some who have never played in an organized league.

“This is my first time coaching, so I didn’t really know what to expect going into it,” Ludwig said. “A lot of the kids hadn’t played a lot of baseball, which, at their age, was surprising to me - they just haven’t had the opportunity. Just seeing their excitement to learn the game reminded me of when I was a little kid. They’re all just happy to be out there.”

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Ludwig, Volcani and Jacobsen-Gal supervise two practices and one or two games a week, working a lot on fundamentals but also simply allowing the kids to enjoy the game.

The trio is also part of a larger group of baseball players from La Jolla who have come together in the last few years to work on an effort called Kids Gear for Baseball. The organization collects new and used baseball equipment and distributes it locally to underprivileged kids.

Most of the equipment has gone to kids in San Diego County - including players in the RBI program - but some has been sent to Mexico and other foreign countries.

“It’s terrific,” Ludwig said. “These kids want to play baseball, but they just don’t have the same kind of equipment that we’ve all been lucky enough to have. Giving them the chance to enjoy the game as much as we have is really nice.”

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Bishop’s baseball coach Al Gomez said he is filled with pride seeing his players giving so much of their time to help younger players.

“The cool thing is that they really jumped on the idea of helping out the kids,” Gomez said. “They’ve been awesome with the kids. It’s great that they’ve gotten involved in the community.”