Area baseball players and their families hosted a group of Russian players last weekend in a goodwill event sponsored by the Fairfax County Baseball Council.
Herndon Optimist Youth Baseball (HOYB), Reston Little League (RLL) and Northern Fairfax County Babe Ruth (NFC Babe Ruth) welcomed the group of 31 players ages 8 to 15, who came from St. Petersburg to the Washington, DC, area.
The players took part in fundamentals training, a scrimmage and team meals (including American specialities such as Sno-cones) at Reston
After the scrimmage, all the Russian guests and many of the American players visited Lake Fairfax’s to enjoy some downtime.
“I really enjoyed teaching the players skills and having fun doing it," said RLL player Bodhi Bryan. "We all had fun at the Water Mine. I think the Russians really liked that.”
The Fairfax County Park Authority generously donated free tickets to the Russian players, and HOYB and RLL subsidized the local parents and players who went along.
“This was a huge undertaking for our leagues, and with very little notice," said Sheri Zimmerman, President of HOYB. "Our families rallied and engaged to put on a great day for our Russian friends. This was a unique cultural exchange in which Reston and Herndon were privileged to take part."
Wyn Francis (HOYB), who organized the players ages 13 to 15 brought his son Thomas to provide umpire training. He says he was very impressed with the quality of play and engagement overall.
“We were able to see the diversity of our house league baseball at its best," he said. "We included everyone. We were able to have several players who play with significant physical challenges enjoy being on the field with their peers and the Russian boys who embraced all the players.”
The delegation from St. Petersburg will be in the Washington area for another two weeks.