Riley and Matthew participated in Glen Allen’s Babe Ruth 11/12 U Major’s baseball program this year. This was one of those years that they could both be on the same team so I took advantage of it (so I was only doing baseball 2 days a week instead of 4 days a week!)!
They joined the “A’s” and there were several kids they had played with before as well as several boys who were playing baseball for the first time. It was a great and diverse team who were fun to watch and entertaining to be around. [and several boys had siblings who are the girls age – bonus! – I didn’t have the girls continually bothering me]
The team struggled in the beginning but seemed to pull together at the end of the season winning their last 3 games in a row. Sadly they ended up losing the first game in the playoffs.
Riley was chosen, with one other boy to be on the 11U All Star team. I asked the coach if Matthew could hang out with the boys and be a bat boy and he agreed. That started off a month long baseball practice session. I think we had 2 days off in the 3 1/2 weeks before the state tournaments. Matthew had some trouble understanding why he could only help out and why he wasn’t a player on the team. We had a lot of difficult conversations running up to the championships about whether or not he would help with the bats and stay in the dugout. Ultimately, one of the coaches engaged him in the pitch counter and keeping track of the pitches for each Pitcher on a clipboard and that allowed him to feel like a part of it and he even picked up the bats too!
Riley was immediately chosen to be the starting catcher but over the first 3 weeks of practice he didn’t even practice pitching. it was hard for him because he had been pitching really well at the end of the regular season and he was key in why they had won the last 3 games. But, he was enjoying starting and being one of the key players so didn’t say anything about it. 4 days before the state championships, I walked up to the field where they were scrimmaging the 12 U All Stars and saw him practicing pitching. He ended up going in for the last 3 innings and doing well. Still, we went through 2 1/2 games in the state championship and he had only caught. But he did get to finish the game for the team (and hold the other team ) but alas our boys’ bats were cold and they lost that game.
The boys had a great time and ended up coming in runners up in the State Championships. All of the boys including Matthew got a trophy and the organizers had a “MVK” award (most valuable kid) and gave it to Matthew (it was a signed baseball). He was thrilled and charmed everyone as he ran to get it.
What a great experience and memory for the two of them!