EAST GREENWICH, R.I. (WPRI) — Just five days before Christmas, the Harmony Baseball Academy in Cameroon, Africa, received a meaningful gift from the East Greenwich High School baseball team.
Brad Van Fechtmann, a former East Greenwich baseball player turned pitching coach, recently built up a close relationship with Arsel Giowou, who runs a baseball academy in Cameroon.
One day, Fechtmann had an idea that would help support the sport in Africa.
“I was talking to Coach [Robert] Downey one day about this program in Africa and how cool it was, and immediately Coach Downey said, ‘We have an extra set of uniforms,'” Fechtmann recalled.
Those uniforms have a sentimental meaning to the 2006 East Greenwich baseball team, which made it to the championship game at McCoy Stadium.
“They’re the jerseys we wore the last time we were at McCoy, and I always wanted to keep them in the back, but we could do so much better,” Downey said. “What’s better than helping a group of kids that are trying to learn the game?”
The uniforms, branded with the letters “EG” on the left side, now also mean a lot to Harmony Baseball Academy player Ndong Wisdom.
“When I wear this uniform, I always feel like I’m a professional baseball player,” Wisdom said. “To me, having this uniform means a lot.”
“What I love about baseball is that the American baseball team donated to my team and the chance to wear a full uniform because we don’t have it here,” he continued.
Anyone interested in donating to the Harmony Baseball Academy can do so by visiting the their GoFundMe page.