WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Winston-Salem State University cut the baseball team amid budget cuts in university athletics, according to the GoFundMe.
Now, the team is trying to raise $350,000 to save WSSU baseball — and to build a ballpark and athletic field that could help sustain the team going forward.
The “Save Winston-Salem State University baseball” fundraiser page lists its creator as Kevin Ritsche, head baseball coach at Winston-Salem State University.
Ritsche wrote, “A large reason Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) was forced to cut their championship caliber baseball program was due to financial debt incurred by not having their own baseball field and having to lease fields off campus.”
He estimates having a baseball field could save the team $60,000 to $70,000 a year in addition to covering the team’s costs.
So far, the team has raised more than $1,300, which is only a drop in the bucket compared to the six-figure goal.
“Without baseball at WSSU, more youth will be forced to leave our community at a greater expense to find lesser opportunities,” the GoFundMe reads. “The ultimate goal is to raise enough money to support the WSSU baseball program to be reinstated for the 2019-2020 season and beyond.”
The fundraiser makes their case for keeping the program, citing the team’s successful history. It boasts:
- more than 300 wins over the past nine seasons.
- participation in six of the last eight NCAA regional tournaments.
- finishing one game away from the college world series in 2017.
- playing as one of the top Division II historically-black colleges in the country.
- standing as the last historically-black university DII baseball program in the state of North Carolina.
The team also aims to raise funds in a campaign to promote equality and opportunities to more amateur sports in Winston-Salem.
“The city of Winston-Salem has zero baseball fields and most inner city high school fields are in such rough shape that games can’t be played,” the fundraiser reads. “However, WSSU baseball is just one of many amateur sports programs in our community that are in financial need and the Winston-Salem community lacks opportunities for these programs in urban locations.”