The rain refused to “go away” at the Decatur County Family YMCA Saturday, but it did nothing to spoil “tee-time” for 85 pre-school-, Kindergarten- and first-grade-age kids at the opening weekend of the Y’s 2013 Tee-Ball League.
YMCA Program Director Mark Lantz joined the Decatur County Family YMCA earlier this year as a program director and was immediately excited about assuming the reigns of the Tee Ball League.
He told the Daily News that although Saturday’s rain was disappointing, the league’s first week went “very smoothly.”
“The weather kind of pushed us inside,” he said (Saturday’s games were played in the facility’s Blue Gymnasium), “but we didn’t have too many problems. The kids were all very excited about the first day of games and about getting their jerseys.”
In addition to coordinating the 10-team League, Lantz also coaches one of the teams. Short of playing outside under sunny skies, he said, he couldn’t imagine a better first-time experience.
He has plenty of help in running things, too, including two coaches for each eight-to-nine-player team and a handful of parents from each team helping with line ups and batting orders.
Additionally, there were a handful of YMCA staff on field during each game, encouraging the kids and making sure everyone fielded, threw or ran at the right time and in the right direction.
All that coordination and coaching showed on Saturday, as none of the kids missed a beat. There were no baserunners running the wrong way, for example — at least, none this reporter saw — and all the kids appeared to have a blast.
According to Lantz, the teams are divided by kids ages 3 and 4, and by kids ages 5 and 6. Six of the league’s teams are age 3 and 4, with the other four being ages 5 and 6.
“Separating them that way makes a big difference,” he said. “I was surprised myself, just watching some of them, how hard they can hit the ball off that tee and how fast they run. It was just so much fun.”
During the 5-and-6-year-old games, coaches actually pitched the ball to some of the kids, Lantz added.
“It’s a big relief that everything ran so well on the first day,” he continued. “Hopefully, we’ll get better weather next week, so we can take them outside and have grass. We’ve got a backstop outside, too, and a lined field, which the kids like because it’s easier for them to run the bases. And of course, they prefer being outside.”
The 2013 Tee-Ball League plays through July 13. For more information, call The Decatur County Family YMCA at 663-9622.
More photos from this event are available at www.greensburgdailynews.smugmug.com.
Contact: Rob Cox 812-663-3111 x7011