Play ball!

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Play ball!

We are spending much of our time these days at the ball fields. Last year, Sylvia and Warner played and were on the same team. This year, Hays joined in and they are on three separate teams.

Keeping track of practices, games, rain make-up dates, who brings snacks when for three kids is a tad bit insane. I switched to using pencil in my datebook (yes, I’m old-fashioned and prefer an actual book, not a smartphone app). Whew! It’s crazy. Everyone said it would get busier and busier as the kids grew older and boy, were they right!

Sylvia has emerged as the most promising athlete in the baseball/softball arena. She played T-ball for the first time last year, but wanted to move up. That meant a big jump to the 9 and Under division. She just turned 7 in April, so she is a little bitty thing out there.

She did the Lady Lions softball clinic last spring, which was a big help. I was really worried she’d be overwhelmed and not up to par with the other girls, but that hasn’t been the case. She has worked hard and holds her own.

The biggest challenge for her has been emotional. She gets in one of her moods and the tears start flowing. She did that in a early game and wanted to quit, but neither her coach nor Darin and I would hear of it. She ended up with a magnificent play; as she was running from third to home, she fell. A girl from the opposing team was right beside her and grabbed the ball, attempting to tag her out. Sylvie jumped up, ran and slid home to cheers from the crowd – a huge boost to her confidence. Her coach’s mom dubbed her “MVP” for that play and the nickname has stuck.

I was most worried about Hays, who decided to play for the first time ever this year. Because he had never played, he was lacking as much as three years’ worth of experience compared to many of his teammates.

He struggled with hitting at first, striking out several games in a row. He has finally gotten the hang of it and is often making hits on the first pitch. He’s still in the outfield most of the time, which he doesn’t care for, but I told him he has to earn a spot in the dirt and that comes with experience.

Warner is back on his same T-ball team this season. He’s changed tremendously from last year, when he spent most of his time playing in the dirt. I haven’t seen him do that once this season. He may not go after the ball aggressively, but he pays attention and is hitting off pitches, not the T, regularly.

The Crawford County Youth League really seems to be about improving each player and there is not a win-at-all-costs mentality. The coaches, several of whom are also teachers, know all the kids and cheer for players from both teams.

Our kids’ coaches are all positive, but hold their players accountable. It’s been great for our trio to make new friends. Because they don’t go to school in Crawford County, they don’t know many kids there. That’s definitely changing, in large part because of baseball and softball.

If I can just keep that pencil handy and my datebook updated, it will be a great season!

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