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A glorious finale for t-ball

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Sixty children and their families and friends came out for our season finale to play ball with us, eat a hot dog or two and collect themselves a lovely little Perry League trophy. It was a perfect end to Jason Newsome’s successful first year as the league’s new program coordinator.    

Matt Finn, 16, was our splendid on-deck coach whose job was to help kids pick a bat, warm up with a few practice swings, keeping an eye out to ensure no one gets clobbered. You have to get each kid’s name and tell it to the coach at home plate so he or she can all call the child by name. Matt was simply perfect, getting every single name of every single child all night long — almost no one ever does that, getting the names of every kid all night long.

Ian Hawkins, 8, and his little brother Teagan Hayes, 3, were back. Ian’s a naturally gifted athlete, a rambunctious, wonderfully Huck Finn wild kid, and a great asset to our program. Thanks, Rachel, for bringing your boys. And Teagan’s grandparents, Peggy and Dan Hayes.  

All the way from Japan, Kei Irazawa was with us again. In her country, baseball is for boys only, and she’d never get a chance to do what she did with us: hitting the ball, running the bases, fielding the ball, the whole time with an open-faced enthusiasm, an exuberance and joy so steady and radiant, it was transforming.

Eliza Gilchrist, she turned 6 on July 14, and her little brother Miles, 3-and-a-half, were all over the diamond with their proud handsome father Brian keeping a close watch. They are both hilarious, often mischievous, and excellent athletes to boot. Being around them is like walking into a spotlight, their energy and joy booming, lighting you up.

Liam McClean, our Fred Astaire dancing boy from last week, came to the plate with a song on his lips. He was making up the words and music, transporting himself to the land of bliss, entertaining and delighting any adult paying attention to his creative shenanigans (many of which Stephani, his mom, got on film).

Nevaeh and Shay Smith were bounteous, booming with bodacious energy. Nevaeh was wearing her beautiful golden Mickey Mouse earrings again — you put a nice pair of earrings on a lovely young 4-year-old and suddenly you have yourself a real life glamour queen; honest, the girl took my breath away.

Peyton Grey, 8, came out to help again. A lot of older kids do this.  She threw balls out with coach Erica Lindemann, and helped her baby sister Reagan who turned 3 on June 30.

Hayley Partee was the champion she’s been all summer, seriously hitting that ball all over the diamond, hitting one home run after another, making her mom Mindy proud.

Avril Newsome, 2, Jason and Rhonda Newsome’s youngest, was drawn to the tee like an iron filing to a magnet. We couldn’t keep her away. It didn’t matter who was at the plate or whether they were swinging or not, this beautiful little girl would not be deterred.

Mia Campbell, 3, was back, both playing in the field and coming to bat, the girl lit up by it all, a joy and delight to be with. And grateful, too, thanking you for letting her hit. Awesome. Her older brother Tristan, 10, was there, too. He’s come out with her before. He’s such a good kid, we let him take a turn at bat, too.

And that’s our Perry League, Yellow Springs’ t-ball program for girls and boys 2–9, regardless of race, color or creed. We had a great time playing ball with you all, a great time being out there at Gaunt Park with you all, and hope to see you, play ball with you next summer. In the meantime, thanks a lot all you t-ballers, you wonderful and amazing kids and you remarkable and loving parents and grandparents, you stupendous and generous volunteer coaches, you awesome spectators, you wonderful silent supporters, you readers of our columns. It’s been real nice having you. Y’all come back, hear?


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