Major leaguer Josh Reddick is looking forward to watching local ballplayers swing for the fences Saturday in the annual home run derby he sponsors in Effingham.
He’s also excited that, unlike last year, he’ll be able to join them in launching long balls.
Reddick could only watch last year as he recovered from wrist surgery. This year, once the participants take their turns hitting and the trophies are presented, Reddick will step into the batter’s box to conclude the event.
“Just to put on a little show for them, hopefully,” said the Oakland A’s right fielder and South Effingham High School alumnus.
The third annual Josh Reddick Home Run Derby will be held Saturday at Sand Hill Park, beginning at 9 a.m. The entry fee is $20 per person, and the age groups for boys and girls are 10-12, 13-15 and 16-adult.
“We’re just trying to get out there and let the kids swing for the fences,” Reddick said. “They get to watch the (major-league) home run derby on TV, but everybody knows they want to be a part of their own home run derby.”
For every home run hit, Reddick will make a contribution to his non-profit foundation to give back to the community. There also will be a silent auction and autograph session.
A concert is set for 7:30 that night at the Effingham County Fairgrounds in Springfield, featuring Josh Sanders, Brian Fuller and Chris Cagle. Admission is $20.
The foundation will put the day’s proceeds toward some type of community project, Reddick said. That could be something near and dear to him, such as building a baseball field, or a project not at all related to sports.
“We could always donate to a police department, fire department, schools,” Reddick said, “and we’re looking forward to starting scholarships up here soon at both high schools for two athletes per school.”
For more information, visit www.joshreddickfoundation.org.