Section 42 created to support youth baseball program


Selena Favela

Wichita State’s baseball team and members of League 42, a Wichita youth baseball league, cheer for the opening of Section 42. Section 42 is a special section of seating for members of League 42.

The baseball program decided to support the community in a new way this season.

Approximately 200 seats at Eck Stadium were dedicated to League 42 — a local not-for-profit — on Monday. The seats will be available to League 42 players and their families at each home game.

League 42, named after Jackie Robinson’s number, is a local program, which provides an affordable opportunity for young children to play baseball.

The first season was held in 2014 and involved 220 kids between the ages of 5 and 14 years old, according to the League 42 website. As League 42 enters its fourth year, there are around 570 players.

Bob Lutz, chairman for League 42, said he is excited about the kids being able to see the Shockers play.

“We’re a baseball league, we’ve got a lot of kids in our league who love the game or are learning to love the game,” Lutz said. “This is a great opportunity for them to come out and watch Division I, high level, quality college baseball and learn from doing that.”

Todd Butler, head baseball coach, is ready to have the seats in Section 42 filled by the players from League 42.

“They have over 500 kids in that program now and they’re going to have free tickets for any child to come to the game,” Butler said.

Butler hopes the kids from League 42 make it out to Eck Stadium to watch baseball and maybe one day return to WSU as students or players.

“I’m thankful to have the opportunity,” Butler said. “I think it’s a great thing that can happen for these kids to watch some good college baseball and hopefully one day we’ll have some Shockers from that program.”

Shocker baseball players have been involved with League 42 in different capacities during the past few seasons.

“They’ve done some clinics for us, and Todd Butler has always been available whenever we need him to do anything,” Lutz said. “They’ve helped with our skills and they’ve taught our kids here at the indoor facility.”

Senior pitcher Reagan Biechler is one of the players who have worked with League 42.

Biechler considers the interactions with the kids in League 42 as a chance to expand the love for baseball in the Wichita community.

“I think it’s a really big deal,” Biechler said. “We host the camps for them all the time and it’s just a good chance for them to come out and have a little bit of fun with us.

We’re able to teach them some things and make them stay positive about playing baseball.

“We run them through a bunch of different drills: hitting, pitching, throwing, and fielding. I think their favorite thing is base running. They love to do the base running.”

Lutz said he is looking forward to the League 42 players being in the stands for the baseball games this season.

“The more they can see people play, the more they’re going to fall in love with the game and the better skillset they’ll develop,” Lutz said.