Sluggers representing the Bullard Panther baseball and Lady Panther softball teams are preparing to step up to the plate and knock it out of the park, as the second annual BHS Home Run Derby fundraiser event is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Monday, March 12.
Taking part in this year’s event will be members of the Lady Panther varsity softball team, coached by Megan Dobrinski, as well as the Panther varsity baseball team, coached by Brock Lemire.
“I am really excited that we are able to do the Home Run Derby again this year,” said Dobrinski. “Last year, I thought it was a great way to encourage camaraderie between the baseball and softball teams, as well as to get the community involved in our programs. Our athletes are not only great on the field, but they are also great people and this will be a great way for the community to get to know their personalities and to know them beyond their talents on the field.”
The proceeds from the Bullard Panther baseball and Lady Panther softball programs’ Home Run Derby fundraiser allows both teams to purchase items for their programs that are not in the budget for each program, as well as team travel, team equipment, meals, and team shirts.
The Lady Panther softball program netted a profit of between $3,000 and $4,000 from donations at last year’s event, allowing the team to use the money on team cleats.
“The girls really wanted to have team shoes to warm up in, as well as game day team cleats,” said Dobrinski. “We’re kind of looking at doing something similar. We have a new fence around the softball field this year, and we’re looking at maybe having some team banners made.”
New to the event this year will be Lemire, who was hired to take over the Panther baseball team in December after the departure of former head coach Chad Linder, one of the masterminds in planning the inaugural event in 2017.
“This is a great event and fundraiser for both programs,” said Lemire. “It helps us to pay things not in our budget like hotel rooms when we go participate in tournaments that are a little too far to drive back-and-forth. It’s always good to work with the softball team and build a good camaraderie with them and to kick start the new season. We’d also like for the community to continue to support both programs by making pledges and helping out two successful athletic programs at Bullard ISD.”
In the first ever BHS Home Run Derby fundraiser, the Bullard Panther varsity baseball team took home a profit of $6,000 for costs throughout the season.
Speaking about last year’s event, Dobrinski said the Home Run Derby was a source of excitement within her program, bringing the players closer together right as the softball season swung into action.
“The kids have talked about how great the day was and being able to compete against their teammates, as well as the baseball guys,” said Dobrinski. “It really helped to bring our team closer. The community’s support was outstanding; there were definitely a lot more people than I thought would show up. All in all, it was an amazing event and I’m glad we got to do it and have a little fun together.”
In the home run derby event, each member of the Panther baseball and Lady Panther softball teams will be put into two-player teams, battling their way through bracketed play. Players will receive two minutes to hit as many home runs as they can, with the final 30 seconds being the “gold ball” round, allowing home runs to equal more than one run. Balls that sailed over the fence of Panther field will also be credited with more runs.
At the event, members of the Bullard Panther baseball and Lady Panther softball programs will use pledge sheets to collect pledges ranging from 50 cents to $10 per home run, as well as flat rate donations. All contributions to the fundraiser are tax-deductable.
According to Dobrinski, the event will also feature a concession stands to meet the needs of attendees’ hunger, with Chick-Fil-A sandwiches on the menu.
“Community involvement is big for both the baseball and the softball teams,” said Dobrinski. “When we get into district play and into the playoffs, the stands for both teams are just standing-room only and both teams’ fans are loud and proud at both home and away games. We hope the community will continue to come out and support both programs this season.”
Taking home the bragging rights at the inaugural BHS Home Run Derby fundraiser event last year was the duo of Destinee Dixon and Jacob Johnson, but the team award went to the Lady Panther softball team, who crushed a total of 350 home runs, compared to the Panther baseball team’s 179 home runs.
For more information about the Bullard Panther baseball and Lady Panther softball programs’ Home Run Derby fundraiser, contact Dobrinski at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lemire at email@example.com.