Local star former MLB player purchases ECAP

Did you know that a MLB player, a pitcher whose career includes playing for the Atlanta Braves, Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds has created an athletic program for our youth, right here in the Sandhills?

And that this same MLB player, along with other notable names in MLB provides hands-on coaching and teaches leadership skills to our local youth?

If this is news to you, we invite you to please read on.

Rob Wooten’s lifelong passion for baseball and strong desire to give back and mentor our youth, resulted in the birth of C35 Baseball, a player development program that trains at the C35 Sports Academy in West End. The organization incorporated as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit, earlier this year.

Sanford resident Wooten, originally from Fremont, NC, played college baseball at UNC and then went on to a career with MLB. Wooten is entering his 13th season playing professional baseball, having just re-signed with the Cincinnati Reds for the upcoming 2020 season.

The mission of C35 Baseball is to help today’s youth develop and grow—both as athletes and individuals. 

The approach to coaching and mentoring youth at C35 is holistic and well rounded. Wooten and a team of professional trainers and coaches work on athletic techniques, physical conditioning, character improvement and developing leadership skills.

The C35 programs consist of traveling baseball teams for boys and softball teams for girls, with playing seasons occurring in both the fall and spring/summer months.

The young athletes enrolled at C35 have the unforgettable experience of being coached and mentored by professional athletes playing Major League Baseball.

Video courtesy of C35 Baseball.

Q:  Why did you start C35 Baseball?

Wooten: I saw the need for proper instruction in our area, and I wanted to create a program to address that need. I have been blessed with the knowledge I’ve acquired over the years in baseball, and I wanted to give back and share my knowledge with our local kids.

Q: What ages are eligible to try out for C35 Baseball?

Wooten: Ages 8 – 16.

Q: You have a softball team for girls as well. Tell us more about that.

Wooten: I looked at what we were doing with the boy’s side, and I saw a need for the girls. Then I was introduced to Paige Wolters, who played collegiate softball as a starting pitcher for Georgia Tech and has over 25 years’ experience in both playing and coaching.

Director of Softball, Paige Wolters:
I joined the C35 family because I believe in developing young leaders through athletics and helping players grow into champions both on and off the field.

What stood out to me that their core mission is not just focused on the technical aspect of the sport but using the game to help teach young athletes how to be successful at home, in the classroom, in the community, and in life. 

Q: Was there a program like C35 Baseball when you were growing up in Fremont?

Wooten: No, there was not. There was Little League, Babe Ruth, but nothing like we’ve put together.

Q: How can the local community help?

Wooten: Being a nonprofit, we are looking for sponsors and supporters, so we can continue to give our kids the resources that they need.

Q: If people are interested in learning more about C35 Sports Academy, how should they contact you?

Wooten: Send an email to [email protected] 


MLB player and founder of C35 Baseball Rob Wooten coaching local athletes. Photo courtesy of C35 Baseball.

C35 Baseball has an open house event planned for January 11, 2020 entitled “An Evening with Major League Baseball.” Major League Baseball icon, Jerry Narron, who has been a player, coach and manager, will be delivering the keynote address. The open house begins at 6:30 p.m. with a social hour beginning at 5:30.

Other MLB players will be in attendance, and a silent auction is planned to help raise funds for the organization. C35 Sports Academy makes scholarships available for economically disadvantaged families and is undergoing an expansion of their training facility in West End.

For those that would like to attend, please RSVP by sending an email to [email protected]. Tickets are $25 for adults. For children under 15, the ticket price is $10. All children must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets are available for purchase at the door and payment is by check or cash only. C35 Players and coaches are able to attend free of charge. 

Feature photo of MLB player Rob Wooton by Jonathan Daniel.

Sandhills_Sentinel~ Written by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Maggie Sergio.

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