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About Homeruns and Heroes

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The January 29th event is a fundraiser to help with the completion of the Torii Hunter Baseball & Softball Complex. When the Complex is completed, it will be a state-of-the-art facility that will bring much prestige to UAPB, Pine Bluff, Jefferson County, Arkansas and region. Additionally, the mentoring opportunities and economic impact are significant. A recent economic impact study revealed that in addition to the obvious financial benefit of a $1.2 million construction project, an added impact of over $450,000 will be immediate. Once the project is completed, it is projected that the 520-seat Torii Hunter Complex will have an annual impact of nearly $1.3 million (to the local economy) resulting from tournaments/championship games, summer leagues, and the coveted Junior Babe Ruth World Series (the potential for securing this venue is great). Revenue to UAPB will be significant through tickets sales, concessions, and memorabilia.

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As a college sports venue, the Torii Hunter Complex will allow our baseball and softball teams to host top-caliber teams who have previously been reluctant to play in Pine Bluff. Those perennial NCAA Division I powers have large fan bases who loyally follow the teams. The influx of their followers to Pine Bluff with the outcome of revenue streams to our hotels, restaurants, and retail shops will be a boost to local economies.

Though the Torii Hunter Complex will serve as host to stellar collegiate sports competitions, it will be much more than an intercollegiate sports venue. It will play a vital role in our quest to better serve surrounding communities by allowing youth sports camps and clinics to be conducted there. This is vitally important in a locale where the economy is depressed, where the literacy level is low and where youth yearn for positive recreational and educational alternatives. Currently, a void exists for recreational activities in Pine Bluff and surrounding communities. The Torii Hunter Complex will offer recreational activities that will attract area youth to the college campus. For many such youth, this may be their first opportunity to be on a college campus and to interact with college students who will serve as positive role models and mentors.

We are counting on you to make this event successful! Your ongoing support of UAPB is greatly appreciated!!

To purchase a ticket: call the Office of Development at (870) 575-8701 or pay online

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Meet Torii Hunter

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For Torii Hunter, the road from Pine Bluff, Arkansas to stardom did not spoil the man. Hunter has not forgotten where he got his start. Shortly after graduating from Pine Bluff High School and entering professional baseball, Mr. Hunter returned to Pine Bluff to marry his childhood sweetheart, Katrina.

A seven-time Gold Glove outfielder, Hunter has shown his athletic ability, having taken away many home runs throughout his 11 year baseball career for the Minnesota Twins. Mr. Hunter was selected as the Twins’ first-round pick in 1993 out of high school, and made his first appearance with the Twins as a pinch runner in Baltimore on August 22, 1997. On November 21, 2007, Hunter signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels and remained a member of the team until 2014. On December 3, 2014, Hunter officially agreed to rejoin the Minnesota Twins with whom he had previously played from 1997 to 2007.

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In high school, Hunter played baseball, basketball, football and track. Along with many other high school recognitions, he was named first team All-State his junior and senior seasons, played on the South squad in the 1992 Junior Olympics, was selected to the High School National Team by USA Today, named to the All-American Team by Baseball America and was named the Gatorade Arkansas Player of the Year in 1993.

Mr. Hunter did not forget the many youth less talented and less fortunate than he, as evidenced by his love of baseball and commitment to youth from impoverished communities, which led him and his wife, Katrina, to establish The Torii Hunter Project. The program bas a two-fold mission, to stop the disappearance of the sandlot baseball diamond from neighborhoods and communities while providing youth residing in America’s inner cities and poor rural communities with opportunities to learn the game of baseball. The Hunters donated $500,000 toward the development of a new baseball complex in Pine Bluff which will benefit UAPB students as well as children throughout the city of Pine Bluff. In addition to their generosity, the Hunters have also established an initiative, Hunter’s Hundred, to provide one hundred college scholarships to youth living in Pine Bluff, Las Vegas and Los Angeles. The Hunters have made a memorable impression on UAPB’s athletes as well as the youth of Pine Bluff.

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Meet Clifton Lee

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Clifton Phifer Lee was born on August 30, 1978, in Benton, Arkansas. Cliff had always been a good athlete who loved sports, but he rarely watched games on television. He had several cousins living within shouting distance, so most of his leisure time was spent in the neighborhood playing with family and friends. His first forays into organized baseball came under the watchful eyes of local youth coaches John Echols and Gary James. Cliff’s passion for baseball grew as he got older. He always believed that he would be a major league pitcher. He had talent, competitive spirit, and high-octane confidence.

As a teenager, Cliff was usually the best player on the field—and he wasn’t shy about letting people know it. Showing up an opponent was part of his game. During his senior season at Benton High School, Cliff was selected in the eighth round of the draft by the Florida Marlins. He was inclined to turn pro, but an injury made him think twice about toiling in the low minors. He turned down Florida’s offer and instead enrolled the following fall at Meridan Community College in Mississippi.

He had a scholarship offer from the University of Arkansas and decided to spend at least one more year sharpening his game. In 1999, he posted a record of 4–3 in 65 innings for the Razorbacks, with 77 strikeouts and a 4.45 ERA. Cliff was not compelled to stay for his senior season and had married his girlfriend Kristen whom he had known since seventh grade.

Cliff signed with the Montreal Expos in July of 1999 and began his minor league apprenticeship. In 2001, Cliff was promoted to the Jupiter Hammerheads of the Class-A Florida State League for the 2001 campaign. His baseball career path ultimately lead to him being a free agent.

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After being a free agent, Cliff is now with the Philadelphia Phillies. Cliff threw everyone in baseball a curve when he signed with the Phillies. With Cliff under contract, the Phillies boasted one of the most formidable starting staffs in recent memory. Cliff was sensational. In June, he twirled three consecutive shutouts against the Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. The last Phillie to do that was Robin Roberts in 1950. Cliff won all five of his starts that month to boost his record to 9–5. He also won all five of his starts in August. Cliff finished the year at 17–8 with 238 strikeouts and a 2.40 ERA. He also shut out the Washington Nationals, Giants and Atlanta Braves to finish with a league-high six whitewashes.

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Buy Your Ticket Today

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