5-year-old Orange Youth Baseball Program finds home
By Mark Ambrogi
The 5-year-old Imavex Orange Youth Baseball Program has found a home.
“For the first four seasons, we’ve always been the away team,” said Steve Burzynski, the traveling league’s founder and president.
The Fishers resident gained support to transform abandon fields in Atlanta in northern Hamilton County into a home for his travel teams. The league leases the field from the town.
“Conservatively, with cash and in kind (donations), we’re putting $75,000 to $100,000 of value into the facility that was really an eyesore and falling apart,” Burzynski said. “That’s what we call Orange Park.”
Atlanta-based Beck’s Hybrids and The Mower Shop of Fishers became two major sponsors.
IU Health is another major sponsor. Burzynski said 15 percent came from cash donations and the rest was in kind services.
Burzynski estimated 80 percent of the league’s players are from Fishers and Noblesville.
The larger field is called Beck’s Hybrids Field, and the middle-sized field is called The Mower Shop Field.
Burzynski started the league as an alternative to other travel leagues.
“When my son started in travel baseball, as a 7-year-old, I think we played 63 games, plus 18 in (recreation) baseball,” Burzynski said.
Burzynski, who has three other children, said he thought that was too many games.
“I looked for a program that plays in the summer but doesn’t take your entire summer away from your family,” Burzynski said. “I couldn’t find anything.”
Burzynski said recreation baseball leagues are fine, but there is usually not a lot of focus on character development.
“You have a few practices at the beginning of the year and then you play some games, which is fine. It’s like gym class,” Burzynski said. “I wanted something more, but without going the full extent of the travel programs.”
The league has grown each year and now has 10 teams with ages ranging from 8 to 14. The teams play 30 to 40 games as opposed to other leagues with 60 to 70 games, Burzynski said.
“It’s family friendly, and the focus is on character, fundamentals, skill development, and the key thing is not being overwhelming to families,” Burzynski said.
Burzynski has two sons in the league. Mason is on the 11-year-old team and Haydn is on the 12-year-old team.