By Gaylen Blosser
April 15, 2014
GREENVILLE – The 14-U Miami Valley Heat, a team from the Greenville and Darke County area, were in action Saturday and Sunday at Sater Park.
“Today is like a mini-opening day for the Miami Valley Heat. All our teams were in action today here with the exception of our 9-U team; they played in a tournament elsewhere,” said Mark Eldridge, co-founder of the Heat teams.
The 14-U team finished up the day with a 12-6 win over the Fairfield Warriors, a team from the Cincinnati area.
Cole “Smoke” Niekamp got the win pitching for the local Heat team with the teams even at 1-1 after two inning of play.
The Heat took a 4-2 lead in the third inning with the Warriors putting an unearned run on the board.
Niekamp set the Warriors down with three fourth inning strikeouts while the Heat was doubling their offensive output, taking an 8-2 lead.
With a Heat pitching change after four innings, the teams would each add four runs over the final three innings with the local team taking the win.
“It is something we started three years ago … started with one team,” Eldridge said. “Now we are up to six (teams) and hope to have a full program from 8-U to 18-U in the next year or two.
“We are looking for some corporate sponsors,” Eldridge continued. “It cost about $800 per kid to play. All of our teams play about a 60-game schedule, and it cost us $100 a game for umpire fees, baseballs, uniforms, insurance, tournament fees and all the other things that go with it. The kids are given fundraiser to do.
“We are doing a lot of good things for local kids,” Eldridge added. “We have kids mainly from Darke County, but we get into Mercer and Miami county a little bit. “It’s good select baseball. We play in the Midwest Ohio Baseball league and we play in eight-nine tournaments.”