LOCKPORT, N.Y. (WIVB) - Rising stars sharpened up their skills to a free program in Lockport today inside the New Directions Wyndam Lawn Home.
This is a winter ball practice for the Lockport Midget Baseball League which is gearing up for its 73rd year.
The cage and hitting machines are open for free for anyone in the community who wants to participate.
Mario Hernandez runs this program where he coaches any, at risk students who are brought here from all over Western New York, free of charge.
By using baseball, he's able to promote education and being a part of a team.
Hernandez says, "All we're trying to do is give guys opportunities to come and just be a part of something. If you played any sports, being a part of something is always a good feeling. All we ask is that you come down here, gives us 110%, and have some fun."
He has been teaching kids baseball here for about 11 years. However, several years ago, his life was on a much different path.
"I grew up in California, I made some bad choices as a kid, I went to the military and it changed my life forever. It gave me an opportunity, I met my lovely wife and now here I am," Hernandez says.
Will Collins is a Lockport baseball player who participates in the program and told News 4, " He's awesome, he practically got this whole thing together. He got a Midget B team together for us at the last minute. Without him, I don't know what I would do during the winter."
Hernandez likes to say he's paying it forward by teaching these kids and some of the at-risk youth about the importance of a team and class work. He also hopes his players will one day do the same.
A house became engulfed in flames on Route 243, in Rushford, early Wednesday morning.
A man who was wrongly convicted of second degree murder in 2009 has been set free after spending four years in prison.
Investigators have pieced together who is responsible for dumping a dog on the side of the road inside a zipped up Coors Light thermal bag.
The City of Buffalo and the southtowns are two different stories Wednesday morning, as southern Erie County and northern sections of Chautauqua County are getting slammed with snow.
State Police need your help finding the pickup truck driver who pinned a mother against her vehicle as she was loading her baby and young son into it and then fled the scene.
Though less than an inch of lake effect snow appears to have fallen in Orchard Park, in southern Erie County and further south it's a much different story.