For the Lexington County Blowfish, host families are considered just as vital as having quality players and coaching.
According to assistant general manager Matthew Jinnette, these families serve as a linchpin to the organization, a summer collegiate baseball team that competes in the Coastal Plain League. The team’s ability to provide a stable, comfortable home for players during the summer is considered the foundation on which the Blowfish family and team morale is built.
This makes Kate Eckert an essential contributor to the organization, as she takes over as host family coordinator. Co-owner Bill Shanahan introduced her at Wednesday’s monthly team luncheon.
Eckert has served in the host family role for the Blowfish for the past 12 years, opening her door for close to 22 players, including Charleston Southern outfielder Chris Singleton. Her daughters nicknamed their guests “summer sons.”
“It’s just a stability for them,” Eckert told the chronicle after the luncheon. “They are used to being on their own and paying rent on their apartments. But this schedule of 70 games is such a different life and getting in at 3 o’clock in the morning and only getting a few hours sleep and having to turn around … at least they know they’re being fed and I do their laundry and different things of that nature to help [them]. Not all parents do that, but this is a stabilizing factor for them.”
She now finds herself with the responsibility of matching players with families that will fit them well.
While there’s no monetary exchanges between the Blowfish and host parents or the host family coordinator, the team does provide perks in the form of free home tickets, invitations to special events and a parking pass.
Eckert said helping young players navigate life events and problems in this critical stage in the leadup to adulthood provides her family the most satisfaction.
Those interested in becoming a host family for the 2022 season can visit goblowfishbaseball.com/2022-host-family for an application.
In other business from the Blowfish luncheon, the team presented a $5,000 check to Town of Lexington Mayor Steven MacDougall and the Lexington Police Department from proceeds from the Lexington County Chili Cookoff Feb. 20 at the Icehouse Amphitheater.
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