WACO (March 10, 2013) -- Once a thriving part of the city, East Waco has fallen on hard times.
But change is coming from a place you wouldn't expect.
"I'm always of the thought of one person can make a difference," league vice president and coach Shelby Lee said.
And the first step in changing a community is building one.
"Just imagine if the parents of every child we get comes. It will bring the community closer together," Lee said.
"It gets you off the streets and not selling drugs and everything," Shelby Lee Jr. said.
The main hurdle…is that much of East Waco doesn't know the Waco Eastern Little League exists.
The league got its start at Cameron Park in the 70s…but was forced to move to when the zoo opened there in 1993.
"Back when we were where the zoo is currently located, we would have fans surrounding the whole entire field and at some point, we want it to get back that way," Shelby Sr. said.
Fans started disappearing because they thought the league folded. But today, these kids are spreading the word they're here to play.
"At school, we ask kids that want to play...most of these kids that play out here is from our school," Johnathan Brown said.
And in order to keep playing, these kids need help repairing bleachers and replacing their broken scoreboards.
"We've had a couple donations so far, but not enough to purchase and install new scoreboards," Shelby Lee said.
No matter the score, these little leaguers know baseball in East Waco is more than just a game.
"It's more about family, friends and people before I hit a home run," Shelby Jr. said.
And by making a positive change in their community, they'll have knocked it way out of the park.
"I'll be real happy because I said whenever I was younger, I wanted to make a difference and I made it," Shelby Jr. said
For information on league signups or to make a donation, contact league vice president Shelby Lee at 254-799-5156 or stop by the fields Monday-Friday, excluding Wednesday, from 6-8 pm.
The fields are located behind Carver Park Baptist Church off of Herring Avenue.