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On December 22nd, 2023, Angels at Bat hosted its first annual fundraising gala at the Black Sheep Wedding & Events Center with the goal of raising $10,000 to help grow baseball across Africa. In partnership with the Max Wagner Brand, this event was a raging success, raising $35,000 for Angels at Bat. Let's take a look back to what was a night like none other!


Although this event took many months of planning, the night before the event was the most important. A team of volunteers assembled to set tables, decorate the event space, and display the amazing auction items throughout the venue. Handmade Kenyan and Nigerian baskets & decorations were available for purchase (all purchases made were matched to ensure artists are compensated) throughout the venue. This was truly an enormous effort, so we want to take a moment to thank everyone who helped set up!


Photo: Christian Spaay


For the first hour of the event, Max Wagner was present signing autographs with attendees. Autographed baseballs and baseball cards were also being sold with all proceeds going towards Angels at Bat. We are beyond grateful for the support from and partnership with Max and the Max Wagner Brand team. The link to Max Wagner Brand apparel can be found below.


Photo: Christian Spaay


Channel 5's very own, Burke Griffin, was not only our auctioneer but also as a LIVE host! Max Bobholz was live on Channel 5 from the event space discussing Angels at Bat. You can find the news story created for this event below.

Photo: Christian Spaay


After officially starting the event, Paul Wagner welcomed everyone to the event and thanked some of the many people who made the night happen. Afterwards, Andy Bobholz came to the stage with the decade old journal that Max Bobholz used to organize the early days of Angels at Bat. From there Max Bobholz provided some context for what Angels at Bat is (and what we do) before welcoming our special guests to speak. Oluwafemi "Femi" Aina, one our Nigerian equipment recipients, spoke to the importance of receiving baseball equipment from Angels at Bat. Then our main Kenyan equipment distributor, Justus Mwaka, spoke to the impact that baseball has had in Kenya. Finally, Faith Bobholz told two stories of baseball players whose passion is contagious. The presentations were capped by a short pre-recorded interview from Felix Kwachi taken in February 2023. 


Paul Wagner welcomes the crowd. Photo: Christian Spaay


Femi and Justus are introduced as special guests.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Andy Bobholz shares the notebook that 12 year old Max used to start Angels at Bat.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Max Bobholz shares speaks to what we do, how we do it, and why we keep going.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Justus shares his perspectives on dreams, miracles, and how Angels at Bat has impacted Kenyan youth.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Femi speaks on Angels at Bat's impact on Ekiti-Kete Little League in Nigeria.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Faith takes us home by sharing the stories of two Kenyan baseball coaches: Matilda and Felix.  Photo: Christian Spaay


After hearing from the Angels at Bat team, including two of our African partners, attendees rushed to bid on silent auction items. We had nearly 50 silent auction items and all but one went home with someone! But, that was only just the beginning!

We had 22 amazing live auction items that caused heated bidding battles. Ranging from autographed jerseys and artwork from the football and baseball Hall of Famers (past, present, and future), to private dining experiences (for both small and large groups), there was an amazing mix of items that anyone and everyone could bid on! 

All in all, the silent and live auction combined to raise $31,000 for Angels at Bat!

A $2,000 bid is made on an autographed J.J. Watt Wisconsin Badgers jersey! Photo: Christian Spaay


Oluwafemi "Femi" Aina of Ekiti Kete Little League enjoys speaking with donors. Photo: Christian Spaay


The bids just keep on coming! The private dinner experience draws plenty of bids.  Photo: Christian Spaay

More bids! This time on an autographed Max Wagner Clemson Baseball jersey! Photo: Christian Spaay


The autographed Max Wagner Clemson jersey is a big hit!  Photo: Christian Spaay


Paul Wagner showcases one of three LA Dodger autographed jerseys.  Photo: Christian Spaay


Our amazing volunteers refused to share the running total of funds raised throughout the night. Due in part to us surpassing our original fundraising goal within the first 20 minutes of the live auction, we were speechless after hearing the final total. 

We are honored that so many wonderful people were interested in attending our first annual fundraising gala to hear more about what we do. Beyond simply attending, we are humbled by the amount raised during this event. For many years, we had to push off many projects as future goals; we are ecstatic to start turning some of our dreams into realities. 

We are beyond grateful to all of the donors who participated in this event in any way. We also want to express our deepest gratitude to all of our partners throughout Africa whose continued efforts to grow baseball really drive Angels at Bat's efforts. 

This night was truly one to remember for the Angels at Bat team, and we left that night thinking only one thing...


Max Bobholz and Justus Mwaka take in the ending of the night. Photo: Christian Spaay

Faith and one of our passionate volunteers react to hearing the final total. Photo: Christian Spaay

Max Bobholz is in tears and speechless by the end of the night. Photo: Christian Spaay



raised for Angels at Bat


guests attended the gala


combined distance (miles) travelled by Femi and Justus to attend the event

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