General Manager Ben Phenicie frequently takes his kids to the park behind the Augusta County library, where they enjoy running around on the baseball and softball fields.
One day he noticed that the roofs on the storage sheds near the fields looked old and were beginning to show signs of wear, but he wasn’t sure who the sheds belonged to.
Ben Phenicie Meets Josh Cash
Months went by, and Phenicie was again at the baseball and softball fields with his kids when he spotted Josh Cash doing some maintenance work on the fields and moving equipment in and out of the sheds. Cash serves as a coach for the Fishersville Baseball and Softball League and helps out with maintaining the fields when he is able.
The roofs on the storage sheds were now in much worse condition, with a huge verticle tear in one roof because a piece of plywood had “bowed up and ripped up the shingles” Phenicie says.
The league’s press box had also sustained wind damage, and was missing some siding and shingles from its roof. “I had never heard of Cenvar roofing,” Cash recalls, “and I was kinda floored that he was going to do it for free. I told him we would put his name on the fence [as a sponsor], and he said, ‘that’s not why we’re doing it. We’re doing it to help the little league out.’”
Cash Brings in Jessica Critzer
Cash immediately contacted Jessica Critzer, who serves on the Fishersville Baseball and Softball League Board and is in charge of finance. “For free?” Critzer exclaimed, when Cash told her about Phenicie’s offer to replace the roofs. “We were jumping up and down because we don’t have any sort of funding” Critzer says.
Augusta County owns the field that the league plays on, but the league itself is responsible for maintaining the facilities. Cash notes that as an organization that relies on donations and volunteers, “our funds are limited.
When we have something that big and we don’t have to raise the funds for it, then that money can go elsewhere,” back to the league. “Even to get costs down on uniforms is tough” he says, and the modest league fees go almost entirely toward the uniforms, while the league relies on donations and fundraisers for everything else. “Typically we have to go out and look for donations,” Critzer explains. “No one reaches out to us, we always have to go hunting for it.”
Critzer has served on the Board for two years, and ever since she started, the Board had been wanting to replace the roofs on their storage sheds and pressbox, but lacked the funds to do so. Critzer played on these same fields when she was a child, and says “I’m pretty sure that was the orignial roof” on the storage sheds and press box.
The press box also serves as the league’s concession stand during games and is “a huge money-maker for the league.”
If the press box roof had been further damaged, Critzer explains, “we would have lost all that income.” Cash says the roof replacements were probably done “just in time,” before the aged roofs led to damages to the league’s equipment and facilities.
Starting Off on The Right Foot
About 14 teams will use the storage sheds and press box during the spring and fall seasons. Critzer says “since the roof replacement, more people reached out to us then ever before” for sponsorships, with three or four new businesses serving as sponsors this spring.
“It really started us off on the right foot,” Critzer says. “We are so grateful,” she adds.
“We rely solely on the community and donations, and for someone to see the issues and reach out, it’s another sense of the community giving back. It’s a huge blessing for our league.”