Hurricane Harvey took a lot from the people on the Coastal Bend. But it gave a lot too, such as a sense of pride and love for each other in the community.
Rockport-Fulton was one of the areas hit hard from the storm, many businesses and homes were destroyed, including the little league field at Memorial Park. "As I drove by on Pearl St. and looked this way, I was brought to tears," says the U8-9 Minors Softball coach, Steven Cantu. He’s been a part of the Rockport-Fulton Little League for over a decade, and says Rockport has welcomed him and his family. Cantu and many others were unsure if Harvey’s destruction meant no baseball season.
But, it was the help of many volunteers, organizations and the community that rebuilt what was once a field to play baseball and softball. Thanks to the financial support from Country musician Charlie Robison, baseball Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, the City of Rockport’s Parks Department, and the Sports Turf Management Association, there was a rebuilding effort that happened on January 13th. Those efforts included replacement of sod and irrigation, laser grading of the infield, mound rebuilding, and seeding.
Nolan Ryan, the Round Rock Express baseball team and RS3 Turf Services will also present the Rockport-Fulton Little League with a $10,000 check.
This would then give hope to many of those athletes, coaches and parents, that there would be a baseball and softball season once again.
"Having temporary facilities, and port-a-potties, and a water hose for, for drinks..It was an interesting year and it just began as a miracle and ended as a miracle," says Rockport-Fulton Little League’s President, Sara Flaherty.
But despite the Harvey setback, neither team gave up. Instead, they thrived.
5 out of the 6 teams that entered the district tournament, came out winners. For softball, the minor, major and junior teams won their District 29 title. As for baseball, their major and junior teams came out on top in District 29 as well. Coach Cantu says, "District 29 is the toughest district, I mean, around. If you come out of district 29, you’re doing something."
Now, all these five teams will head to Sectionals Thursday, July 5th in Orange Grove. Which ever teams win sectionals, they will head on to state.