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Baseball program serving disadvantaged youth ready for opening day this weekend

Metro Red is a local nonprofit serving disadvantaged youth by helping kids and teenagers develop baseball, life and academic skills.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — After a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, a "regular" baseball season returns for the Carolinas Metro Reds.

They're a local nonprofit serving disadvantaged youth by helping kids and teenagers develop baseball, life and academic skills.

WCNC Charlotte and its parent company Tegna provided grant money that helped pay for uniforms for a team.

"Whenever I first started, it was nervous for me," Zaria Harris said. "I didn't know anybody but now I know some people." 

They hit, they run, they throw and they catch, for the most part.

"I'm practicing catching balls, and I'm happy about it," Caden Evans said. 

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At Tuckaseegee Dream Fields, baseball is more than a game.

It has a purpose.

"I'm not here to make major league baseball players, I’m here to make major league citizens," Former MLB player and coach Morris Madden said. 

Madden created the nonprofit in 2008.

Not only do they play ball, but they also offer tutoring and mentorship.

"We have to try and get more African American kids involved in baseball but the big thing for us is to make sure they're going to want to have an aspiration to do something after high school," Madden said. 

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The program has over 120 kids ranging from ages 4 years old all the way to 18. 

Parents like Kathleen Holmes said the score doesn't matter. It all boils down to baseball creating a bond.

"Just the fact that they can be out here with other kids their age maybe come from different backgrounds I think is super important," Holmes said. 

The opening day for the Carolinas Metro Reds is this Saturday, and the team ready to win.