San Antonio missions host Uvalde High baseball team and auction off custom Coyotes jerseys in Thursday’s win

In his 35 years with the San Antonio Missions, team president Burl Yarbrough watched the Uvalde High School team put on playoff games on the diamond at Wolff Stadium, and he drove from his home to Boerne at the Coyotes campus for his daughter’s district. softball games.

When Missions Assistant General Manager Mickey Holt pitched the idea of ​​wearing and auctioning custom Uvalde High jerseys, Yarbrough was quick to jump at the opportunity, thinking of his own children and grandchildren. as well as to all the groups from Uvalde who have come to Mission Games over the years.

Wolff Stadium was packed Thursday with a crowd of 5,824, including the Uvalde High baseball team and many fans dressed in maroon “Uvalde Strong” jerseys. The Missions held a silent auction of their game-worn Coyotes jerseys all night to benefit the Robb School Memorial Fund, which supports the families of the 19 children and two teachers who died in a May 24 shooting at the Robb Elementary School.

“It just felt natural,” Yarbrough said. “I think what happened in Uvalde affected us all. We are just very happy to be able to do something to help.

Uvalde High players, wearing their own Coyotes jerseys, joined the Missions in left field about a half-hour before Thursday’s first pitch for a two-group team photo. The Coyotes remained on the field along the third base line during player introductions and a moment of silence before the game, with one holding a maroon flag that read “Uvalde Strong.”

“I’m speechless. It’s very touching,” Uvalde assistant coach Joel Escamilla said. “It means a lot to our community. We make something like this happen, and everyone can smile for a little while.

When the Missions completed a late-inning comeback with a sacrificial volley from Yorman Rodriguez for a 4-3 win over the Amarillo Sod Poodles, San Antonio relief pitcher Henry Henry waved the Uvalde Strong flag above his head as he led the group of players exit the dugout to celebrate.

“Tonight is a huge night,” said Missions Manager Phillip Wellman. “When a tragedy like this happens, from the front office all the way down to us, you feel the need to help your fellow human beings. You can’t replace what has been done, but I hope we can help you financially.

Wellman, who grew up in San Antonio, helped land the biggest donation of the night, as the Stuart Heights Baptist Church at his off-season home in Chattanooga, Tennessee bought his jersey for $10,000.

Missions took bids for the silent auction throughout the day and spread clipboards across three tables in the third base lobby for fans of the game to write their entries. Most of the jerseys attracted a handful of offers ranging from a few hundred dollars to around a thousand.

Pablo Rivera, who said he has lived in San Antonio since 2008, engraved his name on the No. 24 jersey signed by the Missions roster with an offer of $1,000 on behalf of his law firm associates – a group that includes a native of Uvalde.

“It’s really important, and of course it helps the community,” Rivera said. “What I hope, however, is that we see real change. Just to create awareness and see real change, that we can prevent it from happening again.

Yarbrough credited Wilson Sporting Goods for fulfilling a jersey order that would typically take two months in about 10 days, shipped direct from the factory in San Antonio.

Beginning midway through the third inning, Missions staff perched on the dugouts and scoured the aisles with brown and white buckets to collect individual donations for the Robb School Memorial Fund.

“Not everyone will be able to buy a jersey tonight, but we wanted to get the bucket through and whether it’s a quarter, a dollar, a 20, whatever, it gives people a chance to donate,” Yarbrough said. “That’s what we wanted to do. Raise as much money as possible for the fund.

Wellman said the Missions players also passed a hat around the clubhouse on Thursday to make their own contribution.

Pitcher Jason Blanchard, who was born in Austin and raised in Houston playing at Kingwood Park High and Lamar University, thought back to his days competing in the same Texas playoffs as the Coyotes. He said he was happy to use his platform with the missions to make a positive difference.

“Just being there for them, putting ‘Uvalde’ on our chest and letting everyone know, ‘Hey man, we’re all here. We’ve all got your backs,’” Blanchard said. “I know when I was in high school playing baseball, if I were to walk on that field and see some guys living my dream, that would be pretty cool.”

greg.luca@express-news.net

Twitter: @GregLuca

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