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In what has become a weekly tradition, students from the Yellow Springs Community Childrens Center meet up for a pre-Perry League potluck picnic. Pictured, from left, are Kylan (top), Kai, Miko, Callie (middle), Octavia, Mahni, and Georgia (bottom), as they anxiously await the opening whistle. (Photo by Jessica Thomas)

Perry League | T-ball nights full of surprises

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By Coaches Yunus Brevik and Margi and Rob Gay

The Perry League T-ball season is in full swing.

The local T-ball league has now encompassed more than five decades and endeared itself to the hearts of many children and families in the village. The seasons seem to come and go more rapidly as the years pass by, and we cherish every moment!

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As we enter the early days of summer, time’s passage can be signaled by the rapid progression of our farm fields and gardens. The corn in the nearby field seemed to grow a foot in one short week, and we recently noticed that bird activity has increased. A newly discovered “bird sounds” phone app determined there were 11 different species of our feathered friends chirping and chittering in our backyard, all of them singing the praises of the season.

The sights and sounds of late spring/early summer were evident during Friday night’s game, June 9. When we arrived at Gaunt Park the primary noise was the reverberating sound of the Gaunt Park Pool diving board, as it signaled another successful dive into the cool refreshing water. Soon after, the sound of a portable generator was heard as the preparation of the evening’s halftime treat began.

Coach Yunus played the part of mad scientist and Chief Popper as he carefully blended the proper amount of ingredients into a movie-theater-style popcorn popper for a half-time treat later. Once all of the popcorn had been popped, bagged and neatly stacked, the focus turned to game preparation.

The striping of the field, positioning of the bases and removal of the equipment from the bag soon followed. In short order, a plain, dusty space was transformed into a glorious baseball diamond.

We soon noticed the first arrival: A family had chosen to take the opportunity to enjoy their dinner together outside on the Gaunt Park Lawn.

Next, we noticed one of our regular attendees, Rita Johnson. She is a committed grandmother and one of our greatest supporters. She arrives early to stake out her claim, a shady spot near the field where she can watch and cheer on her dear grandchildren. Her love is revealed by the bright smile reflected on her face anytime she speaks of them. Grandma Rita is not alone — grandparents are well-represented at T-ball.

The sound of a whistle that permeates the air signals the beginning of T-ball play and is followed shortly thereafter with the verbal announcement: “T-ballers, line up!”

Seconds before the instruction to start, Sid, 7, danced gracefully onto the field. She quickly located a friend and readied herself for play.

A quick sprint to the right field fence for warm ups precedes the game. After completing numerous stretches, crawls and arm movements, we return to the field to begin play.

Some children locate their preferred spot in the field, while others line up on the bench for their turn at bat.

Coach Becky patiently awaits the first hitter. She has been a constant fixture in the league for almost three decades, her encouraging words and humorous spirit quickly defuse any nervousness the batter may be experiencing.

After receiving the hitter’s name and helping make the very important bat selection, Coach Becky then relays the information to Coach Yunus so the batter may be announced.

Our first hitter of the night was David. His at-bat was briefly interrupted by the appearance of a scooter and rider, Iru, making his T-ball grand debut as he entered from left field, transversed the entire field, stopping briefly near first base. You never know what you’ll see at a Perry League T-ball game! Following the delay, David laced a hard-hit ball back through the middle for a solid hit.

The next batter was Jack, 4, dressed as Batman, his cape flowing in the gentle breeze of the evening. Batman Jack, too, had a successful hit as Mom Maddy and Grandpa Bob cheered.

Alyce, 3, soon approached the plate. One couldn’t help but notice her modified blue tie-dye Perry League shirt with her last name FOX emblazoned on the back in bright pink glittery lettering. She walked the most fashionable T-ball walk!

Georgia, 3, announced, “Again, again, again,” to her mom and dad after scoring a run. Both parents beamed as they witnessed her successful completion around the bases.

Nio, 3, a rookie, after making his introduction to the coaches and finding familiar teacher Bryan, seemed comfortable with his Perry League debut. Nio’s first swing connected with the ball with a resounding thwack that signaled solid contact, the force of which drove the ball into the outfield on the fly. Quite an inaugural hit! Another first time and impressive caveman-style hitter was Miko, 2, who was also a big fan of lemonade and sweetly brought a cup to his mom, Angie.

Ahva, 3, sporting a Dory and Nemo band-aid, Adidas socks and a radiant smile, had her own cheering section and paparazzi, cameras included. She batted at least four times, soaking up the family love.

Shiloh, 6, was very pleased Coach Becky remembered her name and reminded her she was at T-ball last year, and the year before, too! Shiloh requested to be announced this way when hitting: Shiloh, from last year and the year before. Shiloh and Ahva were seen rounding the bases together, with Shiloh and Ahva offering each other seasoned T-ball advice.

Our scooter rider, Iru, whose family recently moved back to the area, batted several times. Hitting seemed to be his favorite T-ball activity.

There was plenty of action out in the field too. Sporting sunflower pants and a radiant smile, Isabel, 3, displayed a fierce spirit, catching every ball that came her way. Her mother danced in celebration of her sweet daughter’s prowess exhibited on the field.

It was obvious that Miles, 2, had carefully studied the game’s scouting report, as he was perfectly positioned to snag a one-hop, hard-hit grounder. A noticeable smile graced his father’s face at the conclusion of the play, one we presume they’d previously practiced.

Brendon, 6, excitedly shouted, “I got the ball that was hitted and another.” These kids play the game with passion!

Aria, 8, stated that she has gotten a ball every time! She also mentioned she didn’t make it to T-ball last week because she “couldn’t keep anything down. But now I am better.” And we’re so glad.

Chuck, 6, expressed his T-ball joy by singing a tune from a video game his brother played. After his nice hit, Chuck very seriously and confidently rounded the bases and then requested dad, Joe, who was waiting on the sidelines to tickle him.

Magnus showed impressive range as he patrolled the space between first and second, effectively throwing a force field over that area of the field. Nothing got by him!

During a pause in the action, Harold, 5, disclosed he’d spent the night with Grandma and Grandpa, also that he’d slept with them in their bed. When asked what he had for breakfast he said in a very matter of fact way, “Donuts, because they’re my favorite!” A very sweet narrative he shared. Grandparent-grandchild relationships are special!

Quite an effort was made by several kids in creating the “Dirt Monument of the Whole Land.” Third base was mounded with field dirt and dust with a dandelion “tree” inserted into the dirt and other weed foliage included. Henry provided much detail about the monument’s dinosaur jungle habitat as folks came by. Earlier, during his at-bat, Henry, 6, magically had some feathers and a popsicle wrapper he asked the coaches to hold while he hit. Oh, what interesting stuff T-ballers’ pockets contain!

Miles, 2, approached the batting area with his dad, David, to consider bat options. Dad encouraged the use of a lighter Miles-appropriate bat, but Miles had his eye on a full-size heavy bat. His bat choice turned out to be a good one, so much so he carried it with him after hitting.

On the sidelines, shoeless Thea, 7, required some medical attention to a cut on her foot from a previous cartwheeling incident. Once re-bandaged, she was off skipping with her besties.

Popcorn and lemonade at halftime were a big hit. Miss Millie, 6, and friends exhibited great patience waiting for popcorn to be served. It’s also worth noting that when Millie was at bat she wanted to be announced as Millie Smith each time.

Thanks to our T-ball Beths for planning halftime popcorn and lemonade, and helping scribe T-ball notes. Appreciation, also, to Matt Raska and Grandpa Steve for helping on base and on field. We are certainly missing other helpers by name but appreciate ALL the help!

Finally, a BIG shout out to Jake, Emma, Evelyn and Theo for promoting Perry League at Street Fair on Saturday. Thank you kindly.

That’s it for week two of Perry League T-ball 2023. Our all-volunteer program is noncompetitive, free and open to children aged 2–9, regardless of their race, color, creed, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, spiritual inclination or practice, ability or disability. We meet every Friday through July at Gaunt Park, 6–7:30 p.m. Stay tuned for more details about our mid-year community T-ball social June 30.

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