CONVERSE, Texas — Nikki Jenkins has three boys who have been playing select baseball the past couple of years, but more recently she’s noticed that their spirit has been brought down.
What You Need To Know
- Mom created two Facebook groups for Black boys and girls who play baseball, softball
- Groups gained nearly 4,000 members
- Invited collegiate black baseball players out for a clinic
“They really don’t get to communicate with anybody because they don’t see anybody like them,” said Jenkins.
Jenkins and her sons are Black. Seeing a small number of Black kids playing in the leagues with her sons, she decided to try and grow the game in her community around Converse, Texas.
“A lot of Black kids in our community and communities around the state don’t play baseball,” Jenkins said. “Financial reasons, educational reasons, they don’t play.”
“I just want to encourage more black boys and girls to play baseball and softball,” Jenkins said.
Both groups have grown to about 4,000 members online. The next step was to get people to help the cause. She connected with Bryan Sturges, a Black college baseball player who used to play at UTSA and is now at Texas A&M.
“This is something that some of us didn’t have, we didn’t have the resources to have guys come back that look like us,” Sturges said.
He quickly began helping the group and they organized their first baseball clinic last Saturday.
“I want these kids to see that somebody that looks like us, they made it,” said Sturges. “They’ve been the only African American on the team.”
Sturges then reached out to some of his friends around college baseball to help out with the clinic. One of those was another former Aggie, Cam Blake.
“We’re really just trying to narrow this gap of equity in the game,” said Blake. “Baseball is one of those sports where people can get lost in the shuffle.”
Saturday’s clinic was the start of something they hope grows throughout San Antonio and the state.
“We’ve planted the seed and now we’re going to water it and watch it grow,” said Blake.
“It’s just giving back and giving them that knowledge,” said Sturges. “Guys that have played at that level to say ‘Hey, you can do it.’”