Five schools will swing for the fences, Tuesday (June 14), on behalf of girls' baseball.
Spruceland Traditional Elementary School is hosting the inaugural Girls At Bat Tournament from 9am to 2pm. Other elementary schools sending teams of all or primarily girls include Beaverly, Quinson, Heritage and Peden Hill.
All of them have been working in partnership with the Jays Care Foundation offered by the Toronto Blue Jays to support inclusion in baseball.
"The program was developed by the Jays Care Foundation and they have been extremely generous in supplying us with 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. 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 one of those special sports where participation seems to be especially meaningful and go beyond just the athletic benefits," said Jacqui Adams, a community schools coordinator who is one of the coaches of the host Spruceland team. "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."
Liz Neville is a school counsellor at more than one SD57 school. She is helping to coach a team and is already considering how to expand it next year so more schools can be involved.
"We are seeing all these girls getting involved who wouldn't try baseball any other way," Neville said. "The character building, the confidence, the camaraderie… The benefits are beyond fitness and physical activity. I really want to see this grow."
There will be a concession available for the parents and supporters who come to cheer on these groundbreaking athletes.
Photos courtesy Spruceland Traditional Elementary School