And so it begins.
This Woodin Elementary baseball diamond is where the seeds are sown for future Little League, high school or college players. There may even be a pro in the making who will launch their career on the dusty infield that on Aug. 9 was being happily trampled upon by youngsters getting their feet and hands dirty with America’s Pastime.
It’s here where kids learn about team spirit, teamwork, being active and interacting with other youngsters and adults, who fill the coach and volunteer roles on game day. In the Northshore YMCA program, there are rookies (ages 3-4 who play T-ball), minors (ages 4-6 and T-ballers) and majors (ages 6-8 who are either coach-pitched or hit off the T).
“I think it’s a nice structured activity that our kids are able to take part in and have a good time and learn the sport,” said Trevor Prophet, the youth and adult sports director at the Northshore YMCA.
When everyone’s signed in after they arrive at the field, then the magic happens, said Prophet, who was on hand on Aug. 9 for closing night of the two-month season.
Elliott Hogg, whose dad Tim is a coach, said he enjoys playing with the other kids and likes hitting the ball and participating from his catcher’s position.
Tim said it’s important for kids to take part in summer activities outside of the home, where they often get entrenched in the computer-game world. It gets them involved in the community.
“You can really start to the see the development and the teamwork,” Tim said. “Baseball’s one of those sports that looks simple on the outside, but there’s really a lot of dynamics at play to make it really flow.”
Parent Heather Woolfitt, whose sons ages 3 and 6 play in the baseball program, feels it’s an ideal way for them to learn a sport and for her family — who moved to the Northshore from Chicago — to meet people in the area.
“We’re a family that loves baseball — go Giants,” she said with a laugh. “I was really looking forward for him (younger son Holden) to play a team sport, and specifically baseball or T-ball, because I think it’s good ‘cause you get the individual attention, but you also get the team environment. It’s fun. We look forward to it every week.”
A couple big wins for her sons are when the younger one started running to first base instead of following the ball, and when the older boy asked his coach to slow pitch to him instead of hitting off the T. After missing the first pitch, he knocked the second one for a nice hit.
It’s all about learning and progressing on the baseball diamond, said Woolfitt as she headed for the field to watch Holden play his final game of the season.