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04/04/2009 6:30 PM ET
Washington Nationals announce 2009 DC Public High School Initiative
Ballclub launches unprecedented program in Major League Baseball
tickets for any Major League Baseball game
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The Washington Nationals today announced their 2009 DC Public High School Initiative in the press conference prior to their exhibition game vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Nationals President Stan Kasten announced the landmark initiative which consists of two elements -- one that is specific to the District High Schools with baseball teams and one that applies to all of the public high schools within the city. District officials including Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and members of the City Council participated in the announcement.

The Nationals have invited each of the 12 District Public High School Baseball Teams to hold one two-hour practice at Nationals Park, utilizing either the field or the indoor batting cages. This exceptional program is offered at no cost to the schools. Practices will take place before the end of the school year and be held from 3:30pm - 5:30pm. Three high schools have already scheduled their practices - Cardozo Senior High School, Dunbar High School and Roosevelt Senior High School. Media will be alerted of the practices through media advisories and invited to attend when appropriate.

"The Washington Nationals are thrilled to provide our field for the High School baseball players who may one day wear our uniform," said Nationals President Stan Kasten. "This is a unique opportunity for the city's young athletes to spend a few hours on a Major League ballfield. In addition, through our wide-spread ticket donation program, we are pleased to invite each public high school to enjoy their own very night at Nationals Park."

All public high schools have been invited to select one home game from a list of available dates to be billed as their night at Nationals Park. The team will donate tickets for students and faculty to attend the game and their school will be recognized as part of a pre-game recognition ceremony. Each public high school was also given 100 tickets to attend Saturday's exhibition game

Additionally, the Nationals have named the District Public High School Athletic Departments as the recipient of the 2009 Baseball Equipment Drive in partnership with the Baseball Tomorrow Fund. Fans may donate new and gently used baseball and softball equipment during the first weekend in May (1-3) when the team faces the St. Louis Cardinals. A $5,000 grant from the Baseball Tomorrow Fund, along with the donated equipment, will be shared among the District Public High School Athletic Departments.

The Nationals home opener is on Monday, April 13 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies at 3:05pm. Individual tickets are currently on sale for all Nationals games in 2009 through the Nationals Park Box Office, located at Half & N Street, SE, by visiting or calling 888.632.NATS(6287). Fans interested in Nationals Ticket Packages including Full (82), Half (41), Partial (21), Mini (13, 12, 9) season plans and Group Outings of 25 or more should call 202.675.NATS(6287) - Option #1 or log onto Nationals Park is located on the Metrorail Green Line at the Navy Yard station.

About the Washington Nationals Baseball Club
The Washington Nationals Baseball Club, owned by the Washington, D.C.-based Lerner Family, was relocated to the District in 2005 from Montreal. The team competes in Major League Baseball's National League East. The Nationals play 81 home games each season at Nationals Park, the 'Home of the National Pastime in the Nation's Capital', located in Southeast Washington.

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