We are beyond thrilled to announce the Grand Opening of the Pittsburgh Hardball Academy Training and Education Center - in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western PA, the only indoor baseball facility in the city of Pittsburgh.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: David Tobiczyk
Pittsburgh Hardball Academy and Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania
Partner to Open the City's Only Baseball and Softball Training & Education Center
Pittsburgh, December 5, 2023 — Pittsburgh Hardball Academy (PHA) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania (BGCWPA) proudly announce the grand unveiling of the newly renovated Pittsburgh Hardball Academy Training and Education Center – the only one of its kind in the City of Pittsburgh. Their collaborative effort at the Shadyside Clubhouse was made possible through a grant to BGCWPA from the Game On-Community Places to Play Initiative, a partnership of The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). The grant was matched by an anonymous donor to PHA and produced a state-of-the-art baseball and softball facility that is focused on providing underrepresented youth with the opportunities to pursue their athletic and academic potential.
The PHA Training & Education Center is the only indoor baseball and softball facility in the City of Pittsburgh and plays a vital role in providing year-round training opportunities to a diverse set of youth. In addition, the center will provide comprehensive academic and social enrichment programming via the PHA Facilitating Opportunities for College
and Universal Success (FOCUS) Program. Through its partnership with BGCWPA, all PHA participants are welcomed as BGCWPA Club Kids, providing youth access to the many programs both organizations have to offer. The collaboration leverages the strengths of both organizations to create a comprehensive and integrated approach that
addresses the multifaceted needs of underrepresented youth in the City of Pittsburgh and its surrounding communities.
"With youth sports becoming so commercialized and specialized, we realized the importance of creating a grassroots program to revitalize the games of baseball and softball in the inner city of Pittsburgh and beyond," said Brian Jacobson, Co-Founder & President of Pittsburgh Hardball Academy. "By eliminating barriers to entry and establishing the Pittsburgh Hardball Academy Training and Education Center, we are increasing access and opportunity for our community's diverse youth both on and off the field. Furthermore, we are very fortunate to have such a like-minded partner in
PHA, founded in 2020, is a youth advocacy organization that has successfully impacted the lives of hundreds of youth participants, including over 40 graduating seniors accepting scholarships to continue their academic and athletic careers. In addition, PHA has had two alumni selected in the MLB Draft, including 2023 draft pick Derrick Tarpley
Jr., one of the only Black players ever drafted out of high school from Western Pennsylvania.
“We are thrilled to provide an inclusive space dedicated to empowering youth, especially those from Black and
underrepresented communities,” said Nelson Cooper IV, Co-Founder & Executive Director of Pittsburgh Hardball Academy. “This facility stands as a testament to our long-term commitment, alongside BGCWPA, to providing
equitable opportunities for youth while enhancing diversity in the world of baseball and softball.”
For over 135 years, BGCWPA has been a leading out-of-school-time provider in the Pittsburgh region, annually serving over 5,000 kids from Allegheny County and Somerset County. Partnering with PHA, this project at the Shadyside Clubhouse focuses on improving the existing infrastructure of the PHA Training & Education Center
to enhance the overall experience for participants and provide a flexible space for mixed-use programming. The Shadyside Clubhouse, located in an area with a 20.5% poverty rate, primarily serves youth from under-resourced communities in the East End neighborhoods such as East Liberty, Homewood, Larimer, and Lincoln-Lemington.
“Partnerships like this allow us to accelerate our mission and we are very proud of our collaboration with Pittsburgh Hardball Academy at our Shadyside Clubhouse,” said Christopher Watts, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. “We share their commitment to ensuring that all kids have access to quality experiences
and are looking forward to opening up even more opportunities for children to advance
As a part of the renovation, the Center received slidable batting cages, HitTrax baseball & softball performance technology, new turf, upgraded lighting, and enhanced aesthetics. The revitalized facility will serve as a valuable resource, offering equitable opportunities for youth engagement in sports fostering physical well-being, teamwork,
and leadership skills.
BGCWPA was one of 15 community organizations, schools, and parks across the country that benefited from $1.275 million in new grants from The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation to improve sports facilities in under-resourced neighborhoods.
The long-term goal of the PHA Training & Education Center will continue to address the community's demand for accessible and high-quality sports resources, becoming a hub for youth development, skill enhancement, and community engagement. For more information, visit: www.pittsburghhardball.org. For more information about BGCWPA, visit: www.bgcwpa.org
About Pittsburgh Hardball Academy and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania: This collaborative effort between Pittsburgh Hardball Academy and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania emphasizes their joint commitment to delivering impactful enrichment programs that transcend the boundaries of the field, classroom, and community. With an intent focus on inclusivity, their shared mission is to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for the youth throughout the Greater Pittsburgh area and region.