Category Archives: Baseball14

Baseball Missions Team – Day 5

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What an incredible week!

We woke up yesterday morning, got packed up and loaded everything onto the bus. After cleaning our cabins thoroughly, we went down to the dinning hall at Camp Grace and ate a fantastic breakfast. Then we hopped on the buses and made our way to Turner Field home of The Atlanta Braves.

The funny part about this portion of the trip is that NO ONE stayed awake except for Coach Pager and myself, of course.

We got to Turner Field and it was pouring down rain, but we started our tour anyway. Getting to hear some things about the stadium that we never knew was really cool – which window is the press box, where does the announcer sit, who keeps the official score, how they keep up with statistics during games. All of this was really interesting. I think for me the most interesting part was getting to go on to the field and seeing it from the perspective big league ball players see it from. We were then able to sit in the Braves dugout and dream a little bit, then went through the museum and saw the history of the oldest baseball franchise to date. It was just a really neat experience over all.

After our tour, we continued up interstate 75 a couple miles and ate at the Varsity. This is always just a great experience and for me a tradition after going to a Braves game. So it was only fitting that we went as a team and enjoyed our last meal of the week together.

What a cool way to close out our week!

We had the privilege of serving at a homeless shelter, playing baseball with the Miracle League, serving at Camp Grace, and touring Turner Field. In between all that, we also managed to pick up two region wins! But more importantly, and above all else, we were all able to bond closer together as a team and see each other open up, become more vulnerable with each other, and found new ways that we can encourage each other with confidence and God’s perfect love. I personally was blown away this week and based on the response from the guys, I think they were too.

Thanks for such a great opportunity and for sending these guys on this trip. We had a Blast!

Blessings to you all!

Coach Poplin
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Baseball Missions Team – Day 4

Today started off a little different. We had the privilege to hear one of the top hitting instructors in America speak. The interesting thing was, what he had to say had nothing to do with hitting.

C.J. Stewart is the hitting coach to big league baseball players such as Jason Heyward, Andrew Mcutchen, and Charlie Culberson. However, he runs an organization that focuses on the three most difficult zip codes of inner city Atlanta and the kids within those communities. Today he spoke to us about confidence and teamwork and what it meant to have both of those things working together.

Next we went to work on the rest of the bank around the pond. The guys really poured some hard work into getting this project finished. They did a great job and the staff was really grateful.

Right after lunch we were able to drive into the little town of Roberta and practice for about an hour. Then we came back to the camp and finished the project. After a little free time and dinner, we met around the camp fire to hear one of the directors of the camp, Lucas, share his testimony. He had a lot of really good insight and perspective coming from someone who found Christ in college and who has really been able to understand how much God has blessed him and protected him.

After Lucas spoke. Coach Pager asked for everyone to share something about this week that had impacted them the most. We started with the freshmen and ended with the senior Martin twins. The overall theme from these guys wasn’t about how much fun they had, but rather realizing how much they have to be thankful for – from having the ability to play baseball, to understanding what a even what a privilege it is to have a mom who’ll go to the store and buy you some sunflower seeds!

Josh Schibi said tonight that he was most impacted by the Miracle League, noting that at the end of that particular day, he got to play in a real life baseball game. And even though it was so cold and everybody was ready to go home, he realized that the kids he got to play with earlier that day would have given anything to play in a real life baseball game!

Again, this was just one of the many stories we heard tonight. Don’t hesitate to ask the guys about their latest greatest adventures.

Tomorrow I will tie it all up and have a lot more pictures. Internet service has been hard to come by at the camp.

Blessings from Coach Pager and myself
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Baseball Missions Team – Day 3

Day 3 started with a devotion just like the other two. Our devotion today was on Philippians 4:8-9. How do our thoughts control our response to our circumstance? When we think about whatever is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and of excellence, we can’t help but to remain positive through any circumstance.

This morning we loaded up the buses and made our way down to Macon, GA. We took a right off the interstate and drove another hour through back country roads and found our way to Camp Grace.

This camp was established in 2004 by a man who had a vision of urban youth experiencing God’s creation like they had never seen before. To hear some of the stories about stepping out in faith and seeing God provide an abundance of blessings, was a bit overwhelming.

After getting our bags unpacked and taking a tour of the camp, we changed into our work clothes and began the first of many tasks… filling sand bags. After filling about fifty sand bags and placing them around the worship tent, we moved to the main swimming pond. There we hammered nails that were sticking out of the docks and pulled weeds out of the beach. A couple of guys grabbed a weed eater and some loppers and went to work on the bank of the pond cutting down brush.

After getting cleaned up, we sat down for some barbecue provided by our hosts at the camp. The guys couldn’t wait to get what energy they had left out, so as soon as they were finished eating, they started playing basketball.

Although we didn’t have our heart strings pulled like the last two days of service, I did hear one of the guys say, “so far coach, this has been the best spring term ever!” Which brings me back to the devotion from this morning. These guys went on the baseball spring term, knowing they were missing out on France, Boston, extreme men, culinary cooking, and other spring terms. But to hear one of our guys say this week has been “the best”, I know his thought process wasn’t about what else he could be doing, but what he was doing in that moment and realizing that he was right where he wanted to be.

So thank you, parents, so much for your prayers and investing in your sons and students and sending them on this trip. We are having a blast and wouldn’t change a thing! (However, I couldn’t quite stay out from underneath Matt Reynolds during our basketball games tonight,so I’m gonna be a little sore tomorrow!)

Blessings from your EAGLES BASEBALL team

Coach Hunter Poplin
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Baseball Missions Team – Day 2

We started our morning with a devotion from 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. What is your foundation? Is what you are building on top of that foundation going to with stand the refiners fire?

Then Day 2 started out with a bus ride to Rome, GA. But first, we had to stop for a snack. And just to brag on our guys for a second, when Coach Pager and I were walking out of QT, a gentleman got out of his car and approached the two of us, pointed at our boys and asked, “Are those your players?” We kindly responded, “Yes, they are!” and he began to tell us how polite and considerate they were to the people around them. He said he sat there for several minutes and watched a couple of our guys standing by the door waiting for people to hold the door for them. Of course that meant we were off to a great start!

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We arrived at the Rome Braves Miracle Field located right beside the Rome Braves’ stadium, at around 10am. We were greeted by the Director of PR and introduced to some of the folks that were already working with the children taking part in the program. The field is identical to the Horizon League field we have here in Acworth, and serves children who have disabilities.

As you can see in some of the pictures, everyone was having a blast. One particular child, “Garrett,” who is pictured with Sam Deen holding the bat and getting ready to hit off the tee, accomplished a first today in his world. Not only was it the first time he got to experience the game of baseball, but it was also the first time he had stepped outside of the umbrella of his teacher and did something else. He was glued to Sam’s side and Sam was glued to his. They covered the field together. They hit together, fielded together, ran together, and sometimes they just sat down in the outfield together. Garrett hardly ever spoke, but Sam was able to connect in such a way that made this little guy feel like he was on top of the world and could do anything. Sam can’t wait to go back and do it again!

That was just one of the many awesome experiences that happened today at the Miracle Field. Ask the guys about it and I’m sure they all have a fun story of their own.

After that we were given a tour of the Rome Braves stadium. We were able to go down on the field, sit in the dugout (dream a little bit), and go up in to one of the private suites.

We ended the day just like yesterday by Winning our game against Mt. Zion 18-8!

One more thing….We had a waitress tell us how impressed she was by how well-mannered our guys were.
So MOM, DAD, TEACHERS, COACHES, MENTORS, and whoever else has invested these foundational truths into these young men, just want you to know that it’s not going unnoticed!

To God Be the Glory! Amen!

Coach Poplin
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Baseball Team – Day 1

Today we traveled up to Summerville, GA to “Hope Rebirth Homeless Shelter.” This shelter provides for homeless families, single men, and veterans. This is unlike a lot of homeless shelters because the occupants actually live there. They look for jobs daily and share chores in the shelter. The shelter itself is actually an old school building that has been partially renovated to provide shelter for about 40 people. The shelter is part of the Feed America program through Wal-mart, and several other grocery stores.

Today the guys helped unload the shipment of produce, breads, dairy products, eggs, and various other essential needs and organized them into boxes to give out to other families. Then they escorted these other families, who lived outside the shelter, and loaded their cars with these boxes full of groceries.

After serving, we got to hear several success stories from shelter alumni who had found Jesus and were able to get back on their feet while in this shelter.

Some of our team commented about not realizing how some people live that life style because they have no choice and some live that life style because they choose to do so. But most of the boys’ communication about the shelter was done through their actions. No one complained and everyone jumped at the opportunity to help anyway they could!
(www.hoperebirth.com is the website if anybody would be interested in finding out more about this small town homeless shelter.)

We ended the day by WINNING our game at Trion High School 3-0.

Over all we had a fantastic day!

Coach Hunter Poplin
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