CHICAGO (WLS) --America's pastime is helping keep children safe and helping them have fun this summer.
The Youth Baseball League in the city's Englewood neighborhood also allows Chicago police to bond with area residents.
Assorted Monarchs, Washingtons and Sawyers take the field for practice as the Englewood Police Youth Baseball League and its teams named for old Negro league squads and Chicago mayors prepares for their second opening day
"We thought it would be a good idea to bring the police officers with the kids and build strong relationships," Perry Gunn, an organizer, said. "So we organized the league for that main purpose. Bringing the community and police together for a positive outing."
Six coed teams provide a timely summer outlet for around 100 players. The kids get free uniforms, including shoes, Tuesday practices and Wednesday games through the summer. It's all courtesy of a police outreach effort in a challenging part of town.
"I think it's working because if something happens, the police will be here to stop it," Azavion Watts, a 12-year-old baseball player, said. "And say if someone gets hurt, they'll be able to call the hospital and they can be there to help the person."
One parent is thankful that the children get their uniform free of cost.
"They gave them these uniforms for free, with the hats, the belts and the shoes. I thought it was a blessing just to do something like that because I'm always trying to find something for them to do in the summer instead of just staying in the neighborhood," Sonja Robinson, a parent, said.
For these families, an organized endeavor like the baseball league is proof good things can happen in Englewood
"The policeman are here to back up the kids and the coaches and by seeing the police here, it's bringing them more together," Cornelious Morgan, a parent, said.