Southpaw Asks Kids to "Hit the Books"

Hillcats mascot will visit at least 31 schools to promote reading

By Lynchburg Hillcats | January 30, 2017 4:10 PM ET

Watch Video of Reading Program

Southpaw 2.0 visited Big Island Elementary School Monday afternoon as part of the Hillcats "Hit the Books" Reading Program. The appearance marked Southpaw's second public outing since he was introduced as the team's new primary mascot January 9. Southpaw 2.0 made his public debut last week when he kicked off the "Hit the Books" Reading Program at Bass Elementary in Lynchburg.

Southpaw has already committed to visiting 31 schools over the next three months after traveling to 21 last year, and more schools continue to sign up on a regular basis. The bright-green, furry mascot will travel as far as 50 minutes away from Lynchburg City Stadium during his "Hit the Books" crusades.

"One of our organizational goals this offseason was to increase our community outreach in a number of areas," said Hillcats President Chris Jones. "We've seen tremendous growth in our community outreach, beginning with our partnership with the Lynchburg Humane Society to kick off the year. Now we are expanding our support for local youth in the area, including a larger number of partnerships with little league teams as well as a greater number of schools participating in our reading program."

In addition to increasing the number of participating schools, the Hillcats also worked with Lynchburg City Schools to write a new book that emphasizes the core values of Respect, Integrity, Learning and Teamwork. In "Southpaw Goes to School," Southpaw practices each of the four values to "hit a home run." Students learn about these four upstanding principles and how to apply them in life by following along as a Hillcats front office member reads the book and Southpaw acts it out on stage.

After learning about the importance of reading from Southpaw and the Hillcats staff, students have a chance to attend a Hillcats game by reading four books on their own. Once they do that, they receive two free General Admission tickets to one of five select Hillcats home games in April and May. The possible dates students can choose include a Fireworks Night and a fan giveaway night.

Season tickets and book ticket packages are on sale now by purchasing online or calling 434-528-1144. Individual game tickets, which include $6 General Admission, will go on sale soon. The Hillcats begin the 2017 season at home in a rematch of the 2016 Mills Cup Championship Series. Lynchburg will host the Myrtle Beach Pelicans Thursday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m. The Hillcats have made the playoffs a franchise-record five straight seasons. Schools interested in hosting Southpaw and the Hillcats staff to help students "Hit the Books" can contact Max Rettig at mrettig@lynchburg-hillcats.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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