RIVERSIDE – Break out the peanuts and cracker jack, Riverside Little League is hosting a fundraiser in hopes of improving the playability of local baseball fields.
The Hit a Grand Slam for the Kids event came about after the league decided to help out the village's recreation department, according to Michael Gentile, president Riverside Little League board.
"Over the years, our rec department has done everything they can given their limited budget to make the fields as good for our kids as possible," Gentile said. "So, we've decided to try to assist them."
During the adult only event – which kicks off at 7 p.m. April 12 at Marlins, 7236 39th St., in Lyons – guests can enjoy a ballpark-style dinner, open bar, a silent auction, a raffle and live music.
Proceeds raised from the fundraiser will go toward improving the baseball fields at Big Ball, Harrington and Indian Garden parks.
Gentile said the funded projects will include installing a draining system to relieve the field after a rain, placing shade structures over the bleachers and expanding space in the dugouts.
"We need to raise about $52,000 to fix up everything," Gentile said. "It's a lofty goal, but one we hope we can achieve."
The league's goal is just to raise as much as possible, according to Gentile, who added that an anonymous Riverside family has pledged to match up to $5,000 of the money raised.
He said the outlined improvements will allow for a lower the number of games that are rained out or canceled to to standing water, along with providing shade relief during games on hot summer days.
The projects, which Gentile said he expects may take a few years to accomplish, will not only benefit the kids, but the entire community.
"Although the fields themselves have improved over the years," Gentile said. "The playability of the fields is something we as a community need to invest in to be sure our kids have the best fields."
"The rec department has done a great job [with] how they've maintained the fields," Gentile said. "But we just really want to help them improve and make the fields that much more playable and comfortable for the kids."
IF YOU GO:
What: Hit a Grand Slam for the Kids, hosted by the Riverside Little League
Where: Marlins, at 7236 39th Street, in Lyons
When: 7 - 10 p.m. Saturday, April 12
Tickets: $50 per person at the door