Hometown Hero | Dunbar Little League
Baseball is known as America's pastime, and in one West Virginia town, it's the new favorite activity for many children playing Little League baseball every chance they get.
Dunbar Little League was about to fold a few years ago when it didn't have enough players, sending everyone who was left to other leagues in neighboring communities.
That's when Blanks Wiley stepped in and took over the league, rebuilding it despite multiple setbacks.
"I played here as a kid and I just couldn't see Dunbar folding up and getting rid of their little league and having to ship kids outside of their own community to play somewhere else," Wiley said. "They should be here, so I gladly took that up to bring it back home to make it a bigger and better organization than what it was when I first got there."
Wiley has helped grow the league to about 85 players across multiple teams and age groups. Children are now able to play in the spring and fall leagues, in addition to summer games.
"My brother and I get together on a regular basis and we talk what we are going to do for the next game or what we are going to do going forward," Wiley said. "What positions we want to put our kids in, you know. Everything building towards the future for what we can do for these kids."
The league's impact is already being seen in the community.
"It's a great outlet for these kids because they need something else to do other than the gaming consoles and it gives them camaraderie and friendship that they are going to need later on in order to be successful," parent Cassaundra Sears said.
"My kid loves video games but he loves baseball more, and Blanks has instilled it in all of them to get out and play," parent Laura Prince said.
Wiley wants his team to continue to grow together. They will move from tee ball to coach pitch next year and the team's end goal is to make the Little League World Series.
You can find information about how to register your children to play in Dunbar Little League on their Facebook page.