West Chester company donates $10K to Middie Way Baseball as 'way to give back'

Feb. 23—Jim Kleingers remembers his four sons playing youth baseball at Smith Park in Middletown and how he coached and sponsored some of their teams.

That was about 20 years ago, and after being dormant for many years, youth baseball is returning to Middletown and Kleingers is helping fund Middie Way Baseball.

On Tuesday afternoon, The Kleingers Group, a civil engineering company based in West Chester, presented Kyle Schwarber, 28, a 2011 Middletown High School graduate and MLB free agent, a $10,000 check to assist the grass-roots organization.

The check was presented by Tim Casto, CEO and president of Kleingers Group.

"This is our way to give back to the community," Kleingers said during a phone interview while attending a meeting in Louisville. "We have known Kyle since he was a kid. It's a great story that he wants to come back and lend his name to youth baseball. This is worthwhile for us and our community."

Greg Schwarber, Kyle's father and former Middletown police chief, is serving as Middie Way Baseball commissioner. He called the $10,000 donation to purchase equipment "huge for us. We are thrilled to death."

The organization also has received a $10,000 grant from the city of Middletown and $16,564 from the Middletown Division of Fire that donated proceeds from its golf tournament.

Schwarber said 147 kids have signed up to play Little League baseball this spring.

Because of the community's financial support, Schwarber said the entry fee is $50, or about $100 less than most youth baseball programs. He said it's important to make Middie Way Baseball affordable to all Middletown children regardless of their finances.

Middie Way Baseball is seeking volunteer coaches, Schwarber said.

Kyle Schwarber said the support is imperative to the success of the program because it's expensive to play baseball.

"If you have the community behind you, if you have the people at home who want to see it succeed, it will exceed," he said. "We want to give kids an opportunity to take the cost out of their minds and enjoy the game."