Striking out an opposing team’s batter carried extra meaning this season for the baseball team at St. Paul’s School in Covington, La. Not only was a batter retired without putting the ball in play, but a donation was made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for every strikeout recorded by the Wolves’ pitching staff.
The Wolves’ Strikeouts for St. Jude fundraiser completed its second year in April, having collected more than $5,800 for St. Jude. The team raised $1,895 last year.
Seniors Landon Waite, Rutger Fury and Blake LoCicero started Strikeouts in their junior year, after seeing the success of a similar fundraiser created by classmate Beau Briggs during his senior golf season. The team tailored the idea to their sport and sought pledges for each strikeout from family, friends and local businesses throughout the Covington community.
“We had a few friends who had been diagnosed with cancer over the years,” Waite said. “And we knew how good of an institution St. Jude was, so we decided to combine our two passions of baseball and helping out the community.”
The trio was motivated in part because families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Each will attend college in the fall, where they plan to continue fundraising for St. Jude. They have recruited juniors William Heurtin and Andy Grashoff to continue Wolves’ Strikeouts for St. Jude next season, with hopes that it will become a tradition at St. Paul’s School.
“This fundraiser that we’ve done benefits St. Jude, but it has also benefited us in life lessons just as much,” Fury said.
“The whole reason we started this is we wanted to make a difference and do something bigger than ourselves,” LoCicero said. “I think that is what struck a chord for us to pick St. Jude as our beneficiary.”