The Saipan Little League Baseball, Inc. received an early Christmas gift after getting a $10,000 donation from Saipan World Resort yesterday afternoon.
Hyung Cho Kim, president and general manager of Hanwha Hotels & Resort Co. Ltd, which operates World Resort, led the turnover of the ceremonial check at the Lilac Room of the Susupe hotel to SLLBI president Tony Rogolifoi. Also present at the ceremony were World Resort AXG director Jake Park, sales and marketing manager Mike Babauta, and HR manager Miriam Seman and SLLBI officials Joey Dela Cruz, Vinnie Sablan, Tiara Evangelista, Derron Flores, A.J. Murig, and Annie Flores.
“We had discussions in the past months to determine which organizations we are going to support. For sports, we chose baseball, as a lot of kids on island are playing it,” said Seman, adding they decided to make the donation this month in the spirit of gift-giving.
World Resort’s donation was indeed timely, as it was done not only during the holiday season but also less than a month before Saipan Little League kicks off its 2014 season. Rogolifoi said the league is set to start their competition on Jan. 17. So far 29 teams have registered for the new season with 12 set to play in the Major division, six apiece in the Junior and Senior League, and five in the Big League. Interested teams have until next week to express interest in SLLB’s tournament.
“We would like to thank World Resort for this generous donation. Every year, we struggle to find funding and put up the tournament so World Resort’s financial aid will go a long way toward ensuring that we will continue to conduct the Little League program for our youth,” Rogolifoi said.
Kim, for this part, said baseball has a special place in his heart, as he is a fan of Korea’s professional baseball league. Kim added he is aware of some Korean pro teams visiting Saipan regularly to conduct training sessions here.
World Resort’s donation will be used to purchase trophies for the four divisions and equipment needed during the competition. In the past years, trophies were awarded to winners several months after the competition had already concluded, but with World Resort coming in to support the league, the practice will soon be changed.
Besides providing funding for the trophies, Babauta said World Resort is also supporting two teams in the league. World Resort is open, too to discussions about having fundraising efforts for the league.