BALDWIN (KDKA) — Members of the Baldwin High School girl’s softball team thought they might miss out on competing at a tournament in South Carolina, but the Pittsburgh Pirates have come to the rescue.

“We were all pretty like crushed because we worked so hard,” said senior Karly Higgins. The girls raised $10,000 to attend the Cal Ripken Experience softball tournament in Myrtle Beach.

But then Direct Airline, with which they had booked their return flights, abruptly cancelled their flights, shut down all operations and filed for bankruptcy.

They neither had the money to buy new airline tickets at the last minute nor to charter a bus, so with no way home, they feared they might have to cancel the whole trip.

Enter Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting.

“I heard of the team’s dilemma and felt compelled to ensure their trip would not be canceled,” Nutting said in a statement. He chartered a bus to bring the team home.

We’re very thankful, and it’s great!” said senior Erica Young. “We can’t even express our feelings toward it because it’s awesome.”

Baldwin Athletic Director Vince Sortino says it means a lot the team. “That a large corporation would step up and make an offer to a high school so the trip would be successful – it’s surprising.”

They’re now leaving for the tournament on Wednesday.

“Oh yeah, we’re going to kick some butt down there,” said Higgins with a smile.

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