A 13-year-old shortstop and pitcher from Federal Way is among the Seattle Mariners’ newest Hometown Nine awardees.
Kingston Edwards, an incoming eighth graders, has been playing baseball for nine years. He has dreams of becoming a Major League Baseball player or coach one day.
Edwards is one of nine local kids selected for the Hometown Nine class, a five-year fellowship program to help build the academic and athletic success of student-athletes from Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities, according to the Mariners.
Started in 2020, the Mariners provide academic, professional, and social support in the Fellows’ athletic and educational journeys through Mariners Front Office mentors and regular interactions with Mariners players.
Mariners Care also underwrites the cost of elite baseball and softball training to provide the students of the Hometown Nine program with equitable access to competitive play. This program addresses barriers that frequently impact young student-athletes, especially youth of color, according to the organization.
For Edwards, the last year has thrown many curveballs. He lost both of his grandmothers within nine months of each other and lost his dog, Ali, who has been with him for 11 years.
“Despite all the loss, my family remains strong,” Edwards said, adding that his strength comes from his support system of family members, friends and his Baseball Beyond Borders teammates.
Edwards, the youngest of four kids, said family is at the center of his world.
“My dad is African American, and my mama is Filipino,” he said. His brother Damani has Cerebral Palsy, which taught Edwards the power of strength and resilience.
Edwards said he is looking forward to seeing how a professional baseball team is run and “give me an opportunity to pick the brains of some MLB coaches and players and do some cool fun stuff that I saw some of my teammates get to do,” he said.
As a professional baseball player, Edwards said he hopes inspire youth to think that it’s “cool to stay in school, cool to get good grades, cool to not use drugs, cool to play sports and to give back to your community.”
The Hometown Nine class of 2026 includes students from Auburn, Bellevue, Renton and Seattle. The new cohort was introduced during a ceremony prior to the Mariners game against the Kansas City Royals on Friday, Aug. 27.