Englewood Police Youth Baseball Leauge

Chicago Sun Times: Youth baseball league combats violence with Officer Friendly coaches

When Kenyatta Jones heard the premise behind the Englewood Police Youth Baseball League, she quickly signed up her 9-year-old son, DaQuan Williams.

“I think this is such a good thing for young black boys, and they’ve even got the girls playing,” Jones said Wednesday as she rooted for her son’s Tigers at Hamilton Park in Englewood.

“With as much violence going on in the city, it’s a real good thing to have police actually involved with the community,” Jones said.

Wednesday was opening day for the unique baseball league that launched in May in the South Side Englewood neighborhood — where the game is about more than baseball.

In this league, about 100 boys and girls, ages 9 to 12, are looking to stay safe this summer from the violence that plagues their community.

Looking to help them are dozens of current and retired Chicago Police officers — their team coaches.

“If the youth don’t trust the organization that is in charge of our safety and security on the streets, they’ll fall to the gangs and street violence,” said Marco Johnson, president of the Chicago Police Athletic League, one of the groups involved.

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