BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — A local baseball team is hoping to showcase its talents in front of the world, but to do that, they need help from the community.
The 6U Birmingham Giants, a travel-ball team which features 6- and 5-year-old children led by coach Troy Whetstone, are going to the DFW World Series in Dallas.
“We’ve had an unbelievable year so far, we were 20-0, now we’re 20-1, we took a loss to a really good team, but we’re going to play all day and get that win back. But these kids started off playing tee-ball and worked their way up to coach-pitch now,” Whetstone said.
The World Series is scheduled to be held from June 30 through July 5. With the weather heating up and Dallas being a far drive, Whetstone said his team could use some help getting there.
“So we have a GoFundMe account that you can donate to. We’re paying for transportation and uniforms, with us being in Dallas, different type of heat so we want to get the kids some white uniforms to stay cool as much as possible,” he said. “Those are the two biggest expenses that we need help paying for, so we just want to get the word out and let people know that this is a special select group of kids. They’re doing some unbelievable things and to be able to go to Dallas and represent the city of Birmingham is really a good thing.”
They have a goal of $2,500 and as of Monday, have managed to receive $1,045. The team has had an unbelievable season up to this point, winning four championships for the spring 2023 season. Whetstone is excited for the team to go to Texas, not only for exposure, but for reasons bigger than the game.
“It would mean a lot to me, but I’m pushing harder for the kids. This is a once in a lifetime experience, I didn’t experience it as a player growing up, my friends who I played ball with, we didn’t experience that. We were good, but we weren’t this good. So, for these kids to experience that, that’s everything for me,” he said. “That exposure is just going to make them even better, even if we come up short in Dallas, that exposure, when they get back in the offseason and back in the season, they’re going to work even harder. We’ve got to give our kids the exposure that’s needed to expand their excellence, so don’t just think it’s baseball, it’s more than baseball. Give these kids a chance to be exposed to something different.”
Whetstone wants those who haven’t been able to see the team play and even those that have, to know one important thing about them.
“That they’re special. You don’t see a predominantly African-American team playing travel ball, but also playing at the highest level that their playing at. You don’t see that. For these kids to be able to brought together to do that and go out there and perform, that’s the most special thing that I can think of for these kids,” he said.
Lashondra Bryant, Lyndsey Cunningham and Ebony Horn, parents of kids on the team, are all proud of what the team and their sons have accomplished thus far and are excited about the opportunity to see them compete on the big stage. Getting to watch them this season has meant a lot to them.
“It would mean so much to us, they’ve worked so hard, they’ve put in the work, they’ve come a long way, it would mean the world to me to get them to another state, which we go to a lot of different states but this is something really big for them… To get there and just make a difference and bring back a ring from the World Series for our boys,” said Bryant.
“They’re fighters, they’re strong boys, it’s been amazing to watch, I’ve never seen a little league team with this talent,” Cunningham said.
“We don’t give up, they are fighters. From what they started from, until now. They can beat anybody, they can do what they want, if they focus and put their mind to it,” said Horn.
You can find the link to the GoFundMe here.