For Cannons … … home is the place to be

CHARLES TOWN — With Monday’s loss to the Strasburg Express ending the Charles Town Cannons’ postseason hopes, players will soon head home for the year.

[cleeng_content id="164421552" description="Read it now!" price="0.49" t="article"]But for the past several weeks home for a number of Cannons players has been with several Jefferson County and area host families who opened their houses to the young men for its inaugural season.

Dee Dee Bender, who coordinates the host family program and has taken in four players herself, said she has enjoyed having the opportunity to give the players a home away from home and to spend time in their company.

“It’s been interesting to meet the boys and get involved in their careers and watch them play ball,” she said “It’s been nice having them around.”

Charles Town Cannons players (from left) Bryan Dionicio, Emmanuel Marrero, Pat Ammar and Clayton Payne gather outside the house of Daniela and Jason Jalbert, who were among several area residents to serve as host family for the team for its opening season.

Charles Town Cannons players (from left) Bryan Dionicio, Emmanuel Marrero, Pat Ammar and Clayton Payne gather outside the house of Daniela and Jason Jalbert, who were among several area residents to serve as host family for the team for its opening season.

Bender said the effort at hosting the players got a good response from the community. Host families took in up to four players for the season, providing lodging and meals.

Bender said she convinced a number of her neighbors in the Shenandoah Springs community to host players and nearly half the Cannon’s roster called the neighborhood home this season.

“It’s nice because they can all hang out together and build the camaraderie between them,” she said. “And it’s very convenient to get to the field for the players.”

Bryan and Elizabeth Just, who live in Loudoun County, Va., hosted second baseman L.K. Thompson.

The Justs said Thompson, who will be returning to Florida Atlantic University, became like one of the family during his short stay with them, joining them at the dinner table and sharing the seasons ups and downs.

“We’ve kind of taken him in like our own grown child,” Bryan Just said. “We stock the fridge and ask him ‘what do you like to eat?’”

Elizabeth Just said the experience has made her a fan of the team.

“We follow the team; we know the scores and how things are going and do what we can do to facilitate things,” she said.

The couple said the relationship with Thompson has been especially meaningful for their two children, both of whom play sports and have joined the Cannons Kids Club.

“He’s really served as a positive role model,” Elizabeth Just said.[/cleeng_content]

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