Bowling for baseball

RICH COX PHOTOS / FOR THE VALLEY ADVANTAGE Donated raffle baskets on display at Valley Bowling Lanes.

Bowling for baseball

Amy Pawlikowski, left, and Mason Smith.

The Lakeland Jr. Sr. High School Grand Slam Club kicked off its first fundraiser of the 2020 season on Sunday, March 1, at Valley Bowling Lanes. The Lakeland Grand Slam Club Bowling Fundraiser was organized by club members Amanda Fuga and Kim Rosar.

Raffle baskets and gift certificates were donated from parents, friends and family members of the players. Patrons bought raffle tickets for a chance to win a variety of prizes such as free tax service, lottery tickets, a movie night basket, lemonade basket, movie night basket, a baseball bat and more.

The donations from Sunday's event will be used for new baseball equipment, indoor facility rental fees, field repairs, spring training field trips, team meals and the senior recognition and player banquet. The parent-led booster club raises money for Lakeland's junior high, JV and varsity baseball programs.

"We also have a paint and sip fundraiser by Drab to Fab coming up on March 28, and an Applebee's pancake breakfast on April 25," said Fuga.

Twenty-six bowling lanes were sponsored by local businesses, parents and supporters in addition to the raffle basket and gift certificate donations.

Sponsors include: Beier Construction in Scott Township, the Bevan family, the Chervanka family, Angie and Bob Curtis, Lois and Joe Fuga, Tommy and Justin Gazella, the Kowash family, the Krott family, the Kulick family, Lauren Molinaro and T.J. Roque, Jack and Linda Munley, the Petorak family, the Piasecki family, the Pochas family, Jim Pochas (in memory), John and Marge Pochas (in memory), Lynn Pochas, the Markey family, the Proscia family, the Retzbach family, the Rosar family, Mary Rosler - ERA One Source Realty in Peckville, the Schreiner family, the Snyder family and Wisniewski family.

Among the estimated 100 guests at Valley Bowling Lanes on Sunday, no one seemed to have a better time than the Chiefs baseball players. Players ranging from grades seven through 12 spent the afternoon talking about the upcoming baseball season with their teammates and making small talk with their coaches. In fact, many of the Chiefs players began their training more than two weeks ago. Most of the returning players like Antonio Natale are itching to get back on the field.

"Baseball is my favorite sport," said Natale. "Just being here today is great too, because I get to spend time with my team. I also like seeing the community out here supporting us. The money goes a long way. We'll use the funding for new equipment, baseballs, buckets and team bats. Stuff like that. There are a lot of different things we use it for."

Lakeland High School coaches Larry Piccini and Sean Durkin were also excited for the return of baseball season and the turnout at the club's fundraiser.

"The money goes directly to the kids," said Piccini. "The money helps us fund different things like our annual preseason trip to Bristol, pizza parties and new equipment."

In recent seasons, Lakeland finished at or near the top of the Lackawanna League Division 3 standings. Over the last three seasons, the Chiefs have an overall record of 48-10.

"We don't have the numbers like previous years," said Durkin. But the returning players are talented and have a lot of experience. We have some young guys too who look pretty darn good. We can be a competitive team."

The Lakeland High School Grand Slam Club is hosting a paint and sip party fundraiser by Drab to Fab on Saturday, March 28 at 4 p.m. next to the shop in Maiolatesi Winery in Mayfield. Cost is $45 per person. This includes craft, supplies, two glasses of wine and pizza. For more information, visit the Drab to Fab Facebook page.

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