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Adenhart fund donates $5K to Little League

July 01, 2009|By BOB PARASILITI

HALFWAY -- Nick Adenhart made many lasting impressions in his youth while pitching in the Halfway Little League.

His family made sure he made at least one more.

Family and friends of Adenhart made a $5,000 donation to the Halfway organization Wednesday during a ceremony at home plate before the start of the Maryland District 1 9-10 Tournament game with Federal. It was the first payment made from The Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund, a charitable fund created in the Williamsport High School graduate's name to benefit Little League baseball.

"This is where it all first started," said Nick's father, Jim Adenhart, as he looked around the facility at the Martin L. "Marty" Snook Memorial Park complex. "It all started over there over the hill and he played for six years here. He is here in center field watching us today."

Jim Adenhart, Nick's grandparents, Jim and Connie Adenhart, and Jodie Warrenfeltz, who represented Nick's mother, Janet Gigeous, presented the oversized check to Halfway Little League President Staci Boward.

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Nick Adenhart died along with two friends in an auto accident on April 9 in Fullerton, Calif., shortly after he made an outstanding 2009 debut for the Los Angeles Angels.

The check presentation was made while a photo memorial of Nick that hangs on Halfway's center-field fence seemingly watched. The Adenhart name is indelibly etched on the side of the press box as a member of the 1999 Halfway team that won the Maryland District 1 title.

"It has been a very difficult few months for our family, and tonight, we take a positive step forward by supporting local baseball through Nick's memorial fund," Gigeous said in a letter sent to the Halfway Little League and read by the public address announcer. "His fondest baseball memories and many of his greatest achievements were on this field.

"Nick made it to the major leagues and he had a lot of support along the way, thanks to the hardworking volunteers and generous businesses."

Following the tragedy, the Adenhart and Gigeous families decided to create the fund in memory of Nick's love of baseball to help grass-roots organizations stay afloat. The goal is to lend a helping hand to struggling leagues around the country to buy equipment and cover expenses to keep youth baseball functioning.

The Adenhart family will make a similar presentation today to the Hagerstown PONY League.

"We have received a lot of donations from the local area and wanted to make our first presentations (in Hagerstown)," Gigeous, who now lives in Illinois, said via telephone. "These are the two leagues that were special to us and to Nick.

"We didn't want to wait until next year to do this. We were just thinking about them. This is the time of year we miss Hagerstown the most. Running the leagues is expensive, especially with all the all-star expenses."

Boward said the money would be placed in Halfway's overall general fund to help defer costs.

"This is a huge honor," Boward said. "Our overall numbers are down this year. Our concession numbers are down. With the economy, a lot of people are staying home."

Halfway Little League has 160 players, but was forced to eliminate one team this year because of a drop in participation.

Gigeous said the fund is accepting donations to help more leagues. Major League Baseball teams and clients of Scott Boras, Adenhart's agent, have pledged financial support to the foundation.

"This was an important first step," Gigeous said. "This was the goal, and we did it. When people donate a lot of money to a nonprofit, you want to make sure you give it to people you know."

It's a donation Halfway Little League genuinely appreciates.

"Knowing he was from here makes this donation special," Boward said. "Nick has been talked about often. He will never be forgotten here."

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