Mariners fans have more reason to cheer for Paul Sewald strikeouts this season.

That’s because not only are they good for the team; they are good for the community.

Paul and his wife, Molly, were looking for a way to give back after Paul had a breakthrough season in the big leagues last year, becoming one of the top relievers in the majors after opening the season in the minor leagues.

They found a charity that was near to their heart — Eastside Baby Corner, whose mission is to help children have what they need to grow, play, learn and thrive by providing essential care, safety, and health goods for children experiencing homelessness, poverty or family disruption.

“Just as soon as we saw (Eastside Baby Corner’s) mission statement, and everything they were offering for families in need in the Seattle area, it really spoke to us,” said Molly Sewald, who gave birth to the couple’s first child, daughter Chloe, in August. “Just the fact that they are helping the Afghan refugees, they’re helping homeless children and they’re helping such a wide range of people in need in this area — even some people that I wouldn’t have thought of that are having these needs — especially with the diaper and formula shortage right now.

“Having Chloe at home, and having all the resources to give to her, we felt called to help those who don’t have that right now.”

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That led to Sewald’s Strikeouts 4 Kids, in which the Sewalds have pledged to donate $200 per strikeout to Eastside Baby Corner. Last season, Sewald was second among all MLB relief pitchers with 104 strikeouts (in just 64 2/3 innings), which would have meant a $20,800 donation.

“We wanted to find something on the field that could apply off the field charity-wise,” Paul Sewald said. “I had a great year last year with a lot of strikeouts and fans usually like the strikeouts.”

Paul said the goal is at least 100 strikeouts again, “but I kind of warned them we may not get to 100.”

“But regardless, we are going to get to that number ($20,000) from our family,” said Paul, who has 10 strikeouts this season.

Paul said the birth of Chloe raised his awareness about how many things a young child needs.

“You have to figure out what really matters to you,” he said. “There are a million places to give your money, but what really hits home? What hits your heart? As we had Chloe last year, helping parents who are not as fortunate as us, that’s what was most important to us.

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“Until you have a kid, you have no idea how many diapers they go through in a day, in a week, in a month. We’re so fortunate that Molly has been able to breastfeed and we don’t have to use formula, because formula is incredibly expensive. Those are two things that are not negotiable: You have to have clean diapers and you have to have formula.

“It’s just incredibly sad to hear that some people don’t have the resources that are necessary to raise a child, and if we can give back, we’re really excited about it.”

Molly said she and Paul were both raised in families that prioritized charity, “and we’ve always done it in smaller ways.”

“This year, we had Chloe and we felt so fortunate to be in the situation that we are in, with Paul’s contract (he signed for $1.735 million this season) and his career. Everything was going great, so we thought this is the year to have a big, major impact.”

The Sewalds are also hoping others pledge, and have set a goal of at least $40,000 ($20,000 from them and $20,000 from the community), “but we don’t want to put a limit on it,” Molly Sewald said.

“Let’s face it, it’s stressful enough having a child without worrying about the finances, just caring for them,” she said.

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Paul said he heard from Eastside Baby Corner that some families don’t tell their children what day their birthdays are because the parents don’t have money for gifts. He loves that Eastside Baby Corner helps families in need with birthday and Christmas gifts.

Paul also likes that EBC provides car seats for families in need and that it has staff members who are certified to install the car seats.

Molly said she was impressed with the packages EBC gives to mothers leaving the hospital after delivery.

“It has all the essential needs, postpartum, for the mom,” Molly Sewald said. “There are a lot of postpartum needs when you are recovering from childbirth. There are also diapers, pacifiers, bottles, crib sheets and all of that stuff (in the packages). They find the moms in need and they give them to those parents to take home.

“I was really moved by that, because when I was preparing to have Chloe, you don’t realize all the things you need. People say you don’t need much, but when you start making the list of hospital items, it’s, ‘Wow, we are going to need of a lot things we have never used before.'”

Molly said other organizations come to Eastside Baby Corner regarding families in need, then EBC “gets to know each of the families, gets to know each of the family’s needs and then checks up on each of the families, and I think that personal interaction is really special.”

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Molly and Paul stressed that any donation helps.

“It does not have to be $200 a strikeout,” Paul said. “Molly and I are in a position to do that, but anything helps. Think about a $35 package of formula that will get a family by for a month. If you give $35, that is one month that a family does not have to worry about food. Just think about the amount of stress you are saving a family.

“That’s how we like to pitch it. A little goes a long way. Eastside Baby Corner has such a good process that they can make your money go a lot further than maybe you can by going to (a store) to buy formula for somebody.”

Helen Banks Routon, director of development and community relations for Eastside Baby Corner, said the Sewald’s drive is a “huge boon” for the charity, saying it will allow the organization to “help more kids, more deeply.”

“It means we can get them exactly what they need, when they need it, whether that be diapers, food or formula or keeping them safe in a car seat,” she said. “It also means making sure they have warm clothing, shoes, socks — and kids need to have toys and books. It means we can support the whole child.”

For more information on Sewald’s Strikeouts 4 Kids and how to pledge, go to https://babycorner.org/news/sewalds-strikeouts-4-kids/.

Note

  • The Mariners have reacquired infielder Mike Ford in a trade with San Francisco in exchange for cash considerations. Ford, 29, was traded by the M’s to the Giants for cash considerations on April 30. He appeared in one game with San Francisco this season, going 1-for-4 with two RBI.