Batesville Herald Tribune, Batesville, Indiana

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March 12, 2010

Goal: play in spring 2011

Athletes in all Batesville youth leagues most likely will start practicing on one new Babe Ruth field and four new Cal Ripken baseball or softball fields in the middle of April 2011 with games starting in the first week or two of May.

Thanks to two sizable donations, the first phase of the city’s baseball/softball complex on a 36-acre site between Coonhunters and Delaware roads should be ready by then, three and a half years after the hunt for dollars began, report fundraising co-chairs Linda Casablanca and Mike Robertson.

“We’ve been helped immensely and we’re so excited about it,” Casablanca says. The John A. Hillenbrand Foundation recently granted $50,000 annually for five years for a total gift of $250,000.

Hillenbrand Inc. leaders have donated $150,000 – $100,000 in 2009 and $50,000 in 2008, according to city clerk-treasurer Ron Weigel. Doug Wilson, Hillenbrand Inc. senior vice president of human resources, said, “Hillenbrand has made a long-term commitment to the Batesville community. The baseball complex will be a wonderful new addition that Batesville residents, including many of our employees and their families, will be able to enjoy and share with visitors for many years to come. We're proud to be part of the community's future.”

Robertson points out the latest offerings “give us a lot of credibility. The community is starting to rally around this.”

Those contributions push the total to $675,000 of the estimated $900,000 needed for the first of three phases.

Other major donors so far include $75,000 each from the Batesville Babe Ruth/ Cal Ripken League, and George and Martha Hillenbrand Foundation; $51,226 from an anonymous donor; $35,000 from a Rising Sun Regional Foundation grant; $10,000 each from the city of Batesville (in Belterra riverboat revenue-sharing funds), and Batesville Tool & Die.

Also, $5,000 each from Peter and Elsa Soderberg, city of Batesville, and Mayor’s Youth Council (gained from its “Batesville’s Got Talent” show); $2,500 each from Margaret Mary Community Hospital, and Batesville Area Columbians; $2,000 from Wilson Family Charitable Fund; $1,000 each from Bruns-Gutzwiller Inc., Alfred and Erma Hartman, and Dan and Ella Laker.

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