The girls had a ball at the Girls at Bat program that saw about 26 elementary school students gather on the field at Spruceland Traditional Elementary School Tuesday morning for a tournament to show off some baseball skills they have recently learned.
Three 11-year-old Beaverly students were loving the experience.
Madison Doyle, Summer Haugan and Addyson Doig thought it was a pretty sweet deal.
The program was offered by the Toronto Blue Jays through the Jays Care Foundation that supports inclusion in baseball.
Madison has a bit of history with the game.
“I really love baseball,” Madison said. “My Papa (her grandfather) is in baseball and my dad really wants me to try out for a softball team. It’s just a really fun sport and I would love to try out.”
It’s just been a really good time, the girls agreed.
“I was kind of surprised they put two different teams together and I’m actually pretty happy that happened because it’s really fun teaming up with people you don’t know,” Madison said.
Making new friends was a big bonus, she added.
Summer thought the Girls at Bat program was a pretty cool idea, she said.
“I hadn’t really done it before and now I really like it,” Summer said. “It’s actually a lot of fun even if you’re just starting out like a lot of us here. I was surprised how much fun it was to come outside and play.”
For Addyson it was all about being with her friends and having a good time, she said.
“Trying a new sport – I’m just having a really great time,” Addyson said.
Summer who has only ever focused on gymnastics was surprised how far she could throw the ball.
“My life has always been all about dance,” Madison piped up.
"And now I’m a baseball player! This game really helps with your team play and it’s really good for your body, too. It’s really healthy.”
Addyson discovered some new-found skills.
“I was really surprised that I could bat the ball almost across the whole field,” she exclaimed. “And I noticed I have really good throwing skills.”
The program was developed by the Jays Care Foundation and they have been extremely generous in supplying programming, equipment and even T-shirts and hats, said Noelle Young, a coach of the Beaverly team and one of the main organizers for the program.
“I originally heard about it and attended a workshop in the winter of 2019 and had planned on starting in Spring of 2020 but we all know what happened then,” Young said.
“The Jays Care Foundation kept in touch all through the pandemic and held a refresher course online at the beginning of this year, hoping that we could begin in the spring which is exactly what we did and it has been amazing.”
Baseball is a sport where participation seems to be especially meaningful, Jacqui Adams, a community schools coordinator who is one of the coaches of the host Spruceland team, said.
“It goes beyond just the athletic benefits,” Adams said.
“Girls are showing that they love baseball, they can benefit in so many ways from baseball, and it’s just so exciting to see so many girls taking part in this tournament.”