While the art of the stolen base might be slowly dying, do not tell that to Grace Christian (Alexandria, La.) senior Josh Gann.
A timely and patient baserunner, Gann waits until the moment is right to take the extra base, while fueling the Warriors’ high-scoring attack.
However, this season, Gann will also help those in need as he is raising money to the Rapides Parish School Board’s homeless program.
“My dad came to me one day and we talked about it,” Gann said. “We both wanted to do something (for my senior project). He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, ‘What about every stolen base, we get people to pledge for it?”
Prior to this season, Gann launched “Steals for Students” to benefit homeless children for them to buy school supplies, uniforms and Christmas gifts. Gann vowed to donate $10 per stolen base this season, while hoping to improve on his 34 steals last year to 50 this year.
As of Grace’s game against Westgate on Mach 31, Gann has just 12 stolen bases, but has raised $732 for the RPSB homeless program — just $268 from his goal of $1,000.
“That’s something that I’m big on,” Gann said. “It’s hard seeing kids and families on the street, I just feel like that’s something good that I can do for all of the kids that’s out on the street.”
His dad, Doug, added, “He plays on our praise team at church on Sunday mornings and he’s a leader in the youth. The principal came up to me and said that she just loves him. So, whenever people are saying good things about him, that means a lot. When he was first here as a freshman, she came up to me and said that she loves him and that’s he’s a great kid, I had to make sure that it was my kid that she was talking about. He’s always looking to help somebody else out and that’s the thing that we try to raise him in. Do something for somebody else and sacrifice is what God intended for us.”
With Grace outscoring teams by an average of 12-2 this season, the opportunities to steal bases have not come as frequently.
“Sometimes we haven’t had the opportunity to steal as much as we’ve liked, because our offense scores a lot of runs,” Brown said. “We don’t want to run it up by stealing late in the game. We don’t try to do that, but I think it’s going to come for him. He’s finally got his stick going and we moved him down to the 9-hole, which has been a lot better for him.”
As Grace is rounding into the home stretch of the regular season and nearing the playoffs, Gann is focused on one thing.
“I’m not really worried about the total of my stolen bases,” Gann said. “Whatever we raise is more than what we had at the beginning.”
Those interested can keep up with and make donations to Gann’s project on Facebook by searching “Steals for Students” and liking the page.