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05/15/09 1:43 PM ET

Family establishes Adenhart Fund

Pitcher's memory will live on in support of youth baseball

Even after Nick Adenhart had reached the Majors, the promising pitcher would wax nostalgically about his most memorable games in youth baseball, lucidly thinking as far back as when he was an eight-year-old.

So when his mother, Janet Gigeous, contemplated the appropriate way to honor the memory of Nick, killed by a hit-and-run drunk driver in an Orange County accident in the wee hours of April 9, the decision was easy.

Thus, Janet and Duane Gigeous have set up the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund to support youth baseball leagues throughout the country.

"Looking back over Nick's career, he had very fond memories of playing Little League and Pony League baseball," said Janet. "There were other possible directions for us to go in, such as anti-drunk-driving programs, but we felt strongly about the baseball side.

"So this will be our work. It's a good way to honor Nick."

Donations to the Nick Adenhart Memorial Fund can be sent to:

Geier Financial Group
2205 Warwick Way
Suite 200
Marriottsville, MD 21104

Contributions will go toward helping defray expenses of youth leagues in Baltimore native Nick's tri-state area, as well as in leagues around the United States.

This is a heartfelt way to perpetuate Nick's memory. His parents, Janet and Nick's biological father, Jim Adenhart, have been lifelong "Little-League parents." Nick's 15-year-old brother, Henry, is still involved in youth baseball.

Janet has profound inside knowledge of the value of community involvement in sandlot baseball, of the time and money required for the volunteer efforts involved, and of how today's harsh economic climate endangers a critical stream of financial support.

"Youth baseball is solely funded by fees from parents and the sponsorship of local businesses," Janet said. "The support of businesses like car dealerships and restaurants is fairly significant and, with businesses struggling everywhere, many will find continuing to offer help difficult.

"So we wanted to use the funds to support the continuation of youth baseball programs. We'd hate to see them suffer. There is a place, and a big need, for them."

Reminiscing about Nick evokes family and baseball memories. Youth baseball is where the two trains of thought intersect.

"He saw first-hand organized baseball's interest in youth baseball," Janet recalled. "The Angels and other clubs always got their Minor League players out to mingle with local leagues.

"Many times, Nick would call and say, 'I went to this league today and saw this.' It made him again realize how hard the volunteers who make it happen work. I guess it happens to all of us: As we get older, we appreciate coming back around and seeing where we came from."

A Web site is currently in development to aid leagues seeking help to connect with the Foundation. But the reaction within the local tri-state area has already been overwhelming.

"Right now, it's just word-of-mouth," said Janet Gigeous. "A huge number of different leagues can benefit. We won't have large amounts going to any one place.

"But it will all depend on what kind of financial resources we are able to generate. There is also the possibility we could be in position to sponsor streams of individual players."

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.