Ray's Ball Shed

Pitch in! No child should be denied the chance to play baseball or softball on a team because it’s too expensive. Yet sadly, that is the case for many players in youth sports today.

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$15,338

raised towards $20,000 goal

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Pitch in! No child should be denied the chance to play baseball or softball on a team because it’s too expensive. Yet sadly, that is the case for many players in youth sports today.

Ray's Ball Shed - In Memory of Ray Scannell

A donation to RAY’S BALL SHED will accomplish two goals. It will help to cover registration costs for 60 or more children in need who seek to play in the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Baseball and Softball League (TPSS). And it will help Leveling the Playing Field, a nonprofit organization, in its mission to provide sports equipment for hundreds of players throughout the DC Metro, Baltimore and Philadelphia areas each year.

This initial fundraising effort honors recently departed Ray Scannell, a lifelong baseball fan, player, coach and community volunteer. Ray served as co-commissioner of the TPSS league, coached baseball and softball teams and led in developing the Takoma Fire, the community's first competitive fastpitch softball program.

A gifted teacher, Ray passed his love of baseball and softball on to his players. He was tireless in his commitment as a coach and mentor and approached each practice and game with playful determination. Ray spent many nights on the phone brainstorming the next game’s strategy with a cadre of enthusiastic coaches. He believed in his players even when they did not believe in themselves, and with his confidence, helped many kids find a sense of home on the ball field.

Ray coached his daughter Anna throughout her career in the sport, standing by her as she grew up in the local baseball league and transitioning with her from baseball to fastpitch softball when she entered Montgomery Blair High School in 2003. Softball was new to both, and Ray delved into the game’s different mechanics with characteristic spirit. He believed in the transformative potential of youth sports for everyone, regardless of gender or circumstance, and continued to coach long after his daughter graduated high school – even through the illness that would ultimately claim his life.

Ray was also a long-time Takoma Park Rec Committee member, through which he worked to provide the city’s underserved community with recreational sports opportunities. He became the de facto equipment manager for TPSS, overseeing the all-important “shed,” which inevitably expanded to include the family’s minivan, porch and basement. He took this job to new levels – organizing the equipment, ordering new gear and making himself available 24/7 to meet any coach at the shed for a helmet, glove, bat or base.

Ray himself played baseball in the 48+ division of the Ponce de Leon Baseball League, which was created more than 30 years ago to provide players age 30 and up in the DC Metro area a chance to suit up and get back on the ball field.

In 2009, he received Takoma Park's annual Azalea Award honoring the town's most outstanding activists in recognition of his fight for equitable distribution of resources to underserved schools. In his professional career, Ray sought to level the playing field for workers. He retired in 2014 as Director of Research and Education at the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union.

Ray would be thrilled to know that his dedication to the game and to the community can open up opportunities for more children. He is survived by his wife, Miriam Szapiro, his children Josh Scannell and Anna Szapiro, and daughter-in-law Niki Achitoff-Gray. Donations are tax deductible.


Leveling The Playing Field

https://www.levelingtheplayingfield.org/

TPSS Baseball and Softball

https://www.tpssbaseball.org/

Ponce De Leon Baseball League

http://www.poncedeleonbaseball.com/