Officials discuss tools to survive year’s ‘perfect storm’
PULASKI, Va. — Agriculture took the field at Calfee Park on Aug. 22 when the minor league Pulaski Yankees, hosted its first Ag Night to showcase farming in this Southwest Virginia community.
Baseball fans arriving at the historic lower entrance to the ballfield were charmed by a Holstein heifer named Cocoa as she let them pet her and take selfies as they entered the grounds. She was soon joined by a petting zoo of local animals put together by the farm community.
The idea is one born within the Yankee organization which contacted the Pulaski County Extension Office for help in setting the special day in motion. Since the Yankees came to the town’s Historic Calfee Park in 2015, the ball club has earned a reputation for being involved and giving back to the community.
The Ag Day included a raffle for locally raised beef with proceeds going to the county’s 4-H Program. The ball club also will be donating the $2,420 from the raffle to the county 4-H program. An additional amount from the sale of game jerseys featuring a cow will also be donated.
Chris Litchy, the county’s senior Extension agent for 4-H youth development, said the ball club reached out to him and his co-workers for help in planning the event. He in turn reached out to 4-H leaders, club members, 4-H All-Stars, teachers and other community members.
Christina Edney, Yankees general manager and Betsy Haugh, assistant general manager, met with Litchy and his coworkers, Cynthia Hurst and Morgan Paulette, to outline their needs in developing the special event and the Extension workers went to work.
“We’re very excited about last night’s turnout for agriculture and the way the community embraced the promotion,” Haugh said the next morning. “We would like to make it an annual event.”
She added they are already running ideas by one another about what they can do next year.
Despite the excitement around the agricultural presence at the ballpark, the home team lost both of the games in its first doubleheader of the 2018 season to the Princeton Rays by scores of 7-5 and 9-4.
The teams are part of the Appalachian League of minor league baseball.
“We totally appreciate the investment with local youth,” Litchy said. “It was a wonderful opportunity to showcase local agriculture and 4-H.”
Litchy said he hopes to build on this year’s event and showcase more of what Extension offers when the second Ag Day comes to Calfee Park.
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