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A local heavy hitter approached the tee with every intention of knocking the ball out of the park at a recent Perry League game. (Submitted photo)

Heat can’t dampen Perry League joy

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By Coaches Yunus Brevik and Margi and Rob Gay

The seventh night of T-ball took place with higher temperatures and fewer children. Maybe the heat was a deterrent, or maybe families had other plans — several told us in advance they wouldn’t be present, or maybe other circumstances kept players from Gaunt Park, yet we still played with enthusiasm and joy.

Before the game even started, a trio of girls were observed in the infield tossing the fine dirt above their heads and making clouds while belting out “Let it Go.” Others played with a frisbee until the whistle called everyone together for warm-ups. Given the heat, we decided on a short run to the outfield, rather than our usual run to the far fence.

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Marco, who turned 6 on the day of this game, waited on the bench during warm-ups to be first at bat. Happy birthday! Since we had fewer children, our players were able to enjoy many more times at bat. Marco had the opportunity to fine tune his hitting technique, as he took numerous practice swings before attempting, and successfully, cracking the ball past the infield. Josie, 5, also worked on her technique. She would slowly twist her torso to wind up and be completely turned away from the tee, back to the ball, full of incredible potential energy, before spinning 180 degrees to secure a hit. One of these spins was with such force she fell over. During another one of her at bats she wound up, paused, gave a thumbs up, then spun back around, hit, and took off for first base. She clearly knows how to work the crowd. Poppy, 6, enjoyed the opportunity for many at bats. She secured too many hits to count. Liam tried various bats during his turns. Winnie, 4, initially set up on the right-handed side of the tee and hit the ball toward the on-deck area, reset and hit it left-handed. When on base she informed Coach Margi that her mom is named after her Nana. When asked for her Nana’s name, Winnie replied, “Nana.”

Miles, 2, had a nice infield hit. He ran back to the on-deck area to return his own bat, fielded his own ball, and then ran to first. After a different hit, he flipped his bat, resembling the style of a major league player after hitting a homer. Celine also fielded her own ball after a hit, and ran with it to first. She let us know her dog’s name is Betsy.

Though we had fewer people in attendance, people came through to offer all the help we needed to have a successful game. Ronan was an expert ball collector in the field, often seen holding up to five or six balls at a time. He made sure one always made it back to the tee for players to hit. His enthusiasm continued through half time, when he discovered that Cracker Jacks contained a prize inside. He was yelling for all to hear that his popcorn had a sticker. Roslynne, mom to Isabel and Sophia, helped keep players safe while they played in the dirt. She often provided a body block to prevent any line drives from disrupting dirt play. And she brought a hand-held fan so players could catch a small breeze while waiting on the bases. How thoughtful! A young Maya had mom Kalina to help her run bases, and later that support came from big brother Marco, who helped Mya hit and run bases. Many thanks to Nya, 20, big sister to River, Thea, and Cassian, who was in town from Athens and helped with the snack table during play and at half-time.

Teddy, 5, said “I’m going to be in the paper again because I’m using the ultimate bat.” Here’s confirmation of your prediction. Thanks for reading these articles. Others who joined us this game included Faryn, 3, in her polkadot dress and black Converse shoes; Harlan, 7, who hit the ball so hard Margi had to duck; Ahva, 3, who was able to sprint the bases in her turquoise cleats; Alice, 3, who gets better each week; Emi, 2, who also is showcasing increased skills as the season progresses; Nio, 4, whose ability to step into the hit is much improved from when he first started experimenting with the technique; Oly, 6, who consistently hits balls into the outfield; and Rowan, 4 almost 5, who mirrored the warmth of this game while wearing a vintage bright orange Perry League shirt. Kyla, 9, was a new face to us this week, but well known to others. Many players introduced her as “my friend.”

When Parker, 5, was approaching the tee, I asked “Are you ready to hit?” She loudly proclaimed “I’m ready!” then transferred that energy into a solid hit.

Ida, 4, came prepared with unicorn pants, a unicorn headband, a pink and purple flower-printed scarf-cape, and a yellow tie-dye shirt. She was all business. Before one of her hits she asked our scribe Beth to hold her Cracker Jacks with a request to “make sure no one else eats them.”

Charlotte, 4, decided to drag the wooden bat behind her as she ran to first base, creating a cloud of dust that made it appear as if she was running with incredible speed. She used the bat to draw in the dirt while waiting on base. She drew a snake and a snowperson. Brook, dad to Isabel and Sophia, and our helper at second base, noted he’d like to hug the snowperson since it was so hot outside. During Charlotte’s final at-bat she continued to channel that creative energy when she raised the tee as high as it could go to see if she could still hit. Callie, 3, surprised us this evening with quite possibly the most gentle post-hit bat placement. She gingerly laid the foam caterpillar bat down as if it was made of glass.

Jeremiah, 5, was another new face this season and impressed everyone with his switch hitting skills. His younger brother, Jordan, 3, initially took the ball off the tee and was trying to figure out how to pitch it to himself. I asked if he’d be willing to try and hit it from the tee. He agreed and had a solid infield hit that he proceeded to chase down so he could offer a few golf-style swings to make the ball roll just a little further. These two were able to join our game thanks to Grandpa Sterling Wright, a world traveler, former professional basketball player and Yellow Springs High School graduate from the class of 1969 with deep roots in Yellow Springs. Mr. Wright can trace his ancestry to the Conway Colony. Just before the game he let us know that he played ball as a child, and his coach was Donald Perry. Tonight’s game was made even more special by having this direct connection to the founder of Yellow Springs T-ball.

We have two more games this season on Friday evenings, from 6–7:30 p.m.,at Gaunt Park. Our final game July 28 will include our traditional cook-out and presentation of trophies. We hope to see you around. Yellow Springs Perry League T-ball is an all-volunteer program that 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.

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