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May 02, 2019

MLB to upgrade a Lehigh Valley baseball field, with some help from Chase Utley

The former Phillies second baseman helped select the four winners out of 350 submissions from across the country

Major League Baseball named Allentown School District and Lehigh Valley RBI Baseball as one of four recipients of its Scotts Field Refurbishment Program on Wednesday.

The program received 350 grant applications from 46 different states, MLB said in a release, all seeking the grant money to refurbish youth baseball fields. The program will dole out around $200,000 in repairs and upgrades to the four winners, MLB said.

Interestingly, Allentown might’ve received a little help from one of the members of the blue-ribbon panel assigned to help determine the winners.

Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Chase Utley was on the panel, along with fellow baseball and softball superstars Cal Ripken Jr., Jennie Finch, and Cliff Floyd.

“As a father, I know first-hand how vital it is to have a safe place for kids to play ball in their communities,” Utley said in the release.

“Baseball gave so much to me, and I hope that through this program, we can have a positive impact on the lives of children.”

Lehigh Valley's Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) team began last year, according to the Morning Call, but the condition of the city’s main field resulted in home games being played on the road, MLB said.

"Once refurbished by Scotts, teams and leagues can return to a normal schedule and the community will look to increase the amount of events held on the field,” MLB added. 

“That includes hosting youth tournaments, Jr. Home Run Derby competitions and MLB Pitch, Hit & Run competition. The Allentown School District and Lehigh Valley RBI also plan to schedule camps and clinics on the refurbished field to introduce baseball to youth in the area who have never or rarely played."

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