ìPLAY BALL!î

For many, these summertime words are commonplace at ball diamonds and in back yards, heralding the start of a game of Americaís favorite pastime. But for children living in underserved communities, ìstriking outî has nothing to do with baseball.

ìAn astounding number of kids never get to experience the crack of the bat or that ëslapí the ball makes when it hits a glove,î John Wheeler, owner of Ace Hardware of Summerville, said. ìWe were so happy to find out there was something we could do to change that.î

For 2008, Ace Hardware has teamed up with ìPitch In For Baseball,î an organization that collects new and gently used baseball equipment and redistributes it to areas where itís needed most. Ace Hardware of Summerville along with Summerville Little League and Crowfield Little League will serve as drop off points for new and gently used baseball equipment.

Gloves, helmets, bats, and any other items in good working order will be accepted. Ace Hardware of Summerville will handle packaging for the items and sending them to Pitch In For Baseball, which will send the equipment where it is needed most.

ìA lack of equipment in no way represents an absence of passion when it comes to Americaís pastime,î Wheeler said. ìPitch In For Baseball gives kids an opportunity to play ball despite their lack of equipment. Itís a fantastic organization and our store is proud to ëpitch iní and lend a hand.î

Since 2005, Pitch In For Baseball collected enough equipment to provide for hurricane affected regions in the Gulf Coast, including New Orleans, Biloxi, Miss., and Mobile, Ala.

ìIf everyone in Summerville brought in just one piece of equipment they werenít using anymore, imagine the number of underprivileged kids who could experience a pop fly or a base hit,î Wheeler said. ìWeíre especially in need of gloves, the most basic piece of baseball equipment.î

More information on Pitch In For Baseball is available at www.pitchinforbaseball.org. For more information locally, contact Ace Hardware of Summerville at 875-7234 or the Summerville and Crowfield Little Leagues. Ace Hardware of Summerville is located at 713 Old Trolley Rd. in Summerville.