Stockport Youth League 2018

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Small communities share a special bond that creates an environment, which allows kids to participate. W-O-U-B’s Matt Morris traveled to one such community to see that bond in action.

Stockport Youth League Exemplifies Community Involvement

“It’s about filling one dream (of these kids) at a time,” Former Stockport Youth League Director Tracy Copeland said.

The Stockport Youth League relies on and has been maintained by a cooperation amongst local volunteers, businesses and the village. The community effort has benefitted generations of kids by providing an opportunity to take part in a team environment.

“Stockport is a baseball town,” Director Luke Gheen said. “We try to teach these kids to be gracious in winning and gracious in losing. Lessons they can use in life.”

When the Morgan County School District removed elementary schools from many of the small communities throughout the county, a sense of community faded as well.

Couple that with a 21st century economy that has many residents driving an hour or more before and after a full shift to make ends meet, little time is left to spend with their children.

“Some of these kids don’t have much at home,” Copeland said. “This gives them encouragement and an opportunity to brighten their day.”

Both Copeland and Gheen praised the efforts of the kids and the commitment of the parents. “I don’t think I’ve heard ‘no’ from any of the parents when I’ve asked for something from them,” Gheen said.

Much ‘behind the scenes’ work goes into little league baseball. From purchasing, organizing and scheduling the coaches, teams, practices, games, uniforms, maintenance and concessions; kudos goes to the volunteers who make it happen.

The Stockport Youth League accepts kids throughout the area, competes against teams across Morgan, Perry and Muskingum counties and is comprised of baseball teams that range in ages: 12 and under, 10 and under, 8 and under, tee-ball, and girls’ softball.

Local businessman Scott Eddleblute contributes time, money and his kids to the effort. Eddleblute played for Stockport when he was a youth and his father was there with him. “It’s always been a part of the community,” he said. “I feel that’s what it’s based on, community.”

The organization has grown with the times. What used to be one diamond with a single backstop, has grown into four diamonds, with backstops, dug-outs and equipment buildings. Regulations amongst the age brackets require different base distances and pitching mound requirements.

Copeland acknowledged the many hours involved in mentoring and expressed his gratitude for the support his wife, Heather and his children have given him.