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How Micah Hyde's college assignment came full circle at his third annual Charity Softball Game 

Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game at Sahlen Field, Buffalo, NY. May 7, 2023.
Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game at Sahlen Field, Buffalo, NY. May 7, 2023.

Back when Bills safety Micah Hyde was a senior at the University of Iowa, a lightbulb went off in his mind while taking a social entrepreneurship class.

The class, taught by Professor Joseph Sulentic, focused on using entrepreneurial skills to make the world a better place. Hyde used what he learned in that class to write a paper about the Imagine for Youth Foundation which focused on helping children achieve a healthy, active, and educated lifestyle.

At the time, Hyde participated the foundation's efforts by contacting local companies so he could distribute baseballs, helmets, and cleats to underprivileged kids in the Iowa City area. 10 years later, the well-established foundation continues to make the world a better place through football camps, charity softball games, and donation drives in his hometown of Fostoria, OH as well as the Green Bay, Iowa City, and Buffalo communities.

"How people perform on the field is great, but when you think about the hundreds and thousands of kids now that he has impacted, that's an impressive feat," Sulentic said.

Joseph Sulentic throwing out the first pitch at the Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game at Sahlen Field, Buffalo, NY. May 7, 2023.

To give credit where credit is due, Hyde invited Sulentic to throw out the first pitch at the third annual Micah Hyde's Charity Softball game on Sunday afternoon at a sold-out Sahlen Field.

"We've stayed in contact for pretty much the last 10 years, so when he texted me and said, 'Would you be interested in throwing out the first pitch?' I said, 'Of course,'" Sulentic said. "But looking at this event, to see 16,000 tickets sold is highly impressive, I'm thrilled for Micah."

And after a 10-hour car ride that turned into 20 hours due to an popped tire, Sulentic made it to Buffalo just in time to do the honors and be reunited with his former student.

"He (Sulentic) allowed me to start this foundation," Hyde said. "It just means a lot to have him here. Somebody that allowed me to start it during his class and I'm sure it's big for him to see where it is. Back then going to a Boys and Girls Club in Cedar Rapids to now selling out 16,000 in this stadium."

Over 16,000 fans came out to cheer on the Bills as they took on the baseball diamond and most importantly, support the Imagine for Youth Foundation. The remarkable attendance and dedication from Bills Mafia, however, didn't come as a surprise to Hyde — even with the unexpected rain that came down during the game.

"This city of Buffalo – this isn't surprising to me," Hyde said. "This is what they do. They rally around us, and they love us. We're raising a lot of money for the kids in the community, so why not come out here on a Sunday and get to it."

Both dugouts were filled with members of the Bills offense and defense which speaks volumes to the tight-knit group that fills the Buffalo locker room.

"Being a guy on this team and just loving on these guys, and they do the same thing back to me to be able to make it back in town for this event," Hyde said. "These guys aren't getting paid, it's just something that we do for the community. My name is on this charity game, but it's definitely the Buffalo Bills Charity Softball Game, along with the City of Buffalo Charity Softball Game."

OL Dion Dawkins added: "It just tells you that our team is family-like. I flew down from Florida. I'm pretty sure some guys flew from Arizona and Cali and Texas and all of these other places. But there's something special in Buffalo and there's something special about this team, and it's showing."

The friendly competition started with a Home Run Derby upset. Hyde suspected this would be the year that someone would take the throne away from two-time champion QB Josh Allen and OT Spencer Brown did just that. While Allen hit some home runs all the way out of the ballpark, Hyde handed off the Home Run Derby trophy to Brown after a sudden death round of extra hits at bat.

As for the game itself, the defense three-peated with a 14-11 victory over the offense. Down 11-10 in the bottom of the fifth inning, the bases were loaded when Hyde stepped up to bat. In a storybook ending, Hyde hit a walk-off grand slam to bring all his teammates home and win the game for the third straight year.

During the rain delay, Hyde and his wife, Amanda, were presented with a $400,000 check from Northtown Automotive. Hyde plans to put this check, along with other money raised from this event, back into the Buffalo community.

"We got high hopes of giving more money to the NICU at Oishei Children's Hospital," Hyde said. "There are just a lot of things that we continue to do. The Kicks for Kids events that we put on here in Buffalo, the Back-to-School backpacks, the school drives that we do. This allows us to do a lot more and make them bigger and better."

Hyde added: "Hopefully in the future, I'm not going to play 20 years, but our goal and our plan is to continue this thing on for something that fans can look forward to."

Scroll to see all the best photos of the Buffalo Bills taking part in the Micah Hyde Charity Softball Game and Home Run Derby at Sahlen Field on May 7, 2023.

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