Against the backdrop of Major League Baseball's playoffs, America's game is becoming a big hit among the children of migrant farm workers west of Delray Beach.
Lewis Winter, 15, might as well be Abner Doubleday for some of these kids. He's the creator of the Safe At Home Baseball instructional program.
"I just thought it would be nice for less-privileged kids to have the opportunity [to play]," Winter said.
The Spanish River High School student played Little League ball himself, and still umpires. He said he wanted to share the sport he loves because it teaches self-confidence, teamwork, responsibility and other life skills.
"He's really taking what he's learned and trying to give that to the kids who are less fortunate," said his mother, Randi Winter.
A new season started earlier this month, but the dream took shape about a year ago with game days every four to six weeks since.
About 20 kids, ages 4-11, played up to four innings of slow-pitch, three-out baseball, a big step up from the beginning, when outs didn't count and almost everyone hit off a tee.
Lewis Winter recruited ex-pro ballplayers Ramon Morel, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, and Ozzie Martinez who formerly played in the Detroit Tigers farm system, to teach kids the fundamentals.
"When you tell the kids they're actually playing with someone who played Major League ball, and Lewis wears his high school uniform, the kids feel like they've died and gone to Heaven," said David Winter,his dad.
Lewis converted a soccer pitch into a baseball diamond using a donated home plate, bases and a pitcher's rubber. The players' equipment and post-game pizzas were free, too.
"There's not a teenager I know that's doing something like this in the community," said sponsor Rob Cannova, who founded and runs the nonprofit Boca Raton Youth Athletic Association.
The whole idea started with searching for a way to fulfill community-service hours for high school, David Winter said, but it grew past the time requirements when Lewis realized he could combine his love of baseball with his volunteer work.
"It's just a great thing. How could I not do this?" Lewis said. "They get a lot out of it, but I get a lot out of it."
The children live in a migrant community called In The Pines where soccer is religion, but they come to play baseball right after church, Lewis said.
"Most families say their children never picked up a bat before because the equipment is too expensive," Randi Winter said. "The families seem really happy and grateful."
Three or four of the kids are showing promise, with at least one dreaming of the big leagues.
"These kids, their work ethic, when you take them out there, they don't horseplay, they follow directions, they listen," Cannova said, "and there's a lot of natural talent."
One of Cannova's coaches wants to invite a couple of the kids to join the travel team next spring because of their potential.
"That would be amazing if they turned pro someday," Lewis Winter said.
At the very least, he hopes to get scholarships for some of the young players.