It was another sweltering day at Grand Haven High School as kids of various ages came together to participate in the Tri-Cities Kids League all-star games.
The organization, designed to introduce youngsters to organized baseball, is one that is run with pride by the parents and volunteers of the Tri-Cities community.
“The best part is watching them have fun, watching them learn,” said Sally Meara, who helps coach her daughter Lana in the Girls Instructional league.
“We play 10 games, and then the All-Star game,” Meara added, stating that the time together has proven enjoyable for everyone on her team.
For Elliot Kolean, 11, the experience has also proven beneficial. A player in the Boys Minor division, Kolean is finishing up his sixth year in TCKL.
“I guess I just wanted to try it out, and then it turned out to be fun and I’ve just been doing it for years and years,” he said. “Sometimes there are people that are really difficult, but a lot of the time there’s people that I really like and can work with.”
Coach Meara admitted that there is a sense of rivalry that can crop up between the girls in her league, but that the overall atmosphere is one of teamwork.
“There’s an underlying competitiveness, but they all get along really well,” she said. “They all want to do better than the other one, but they’re not going to let the other one know it. They’re going to cheer on their other teammates.”
The league, to Meara, is one that has allowed a number of kids to develop a feeling of accomplishment.
“When they started out, they didn’t know a whole lot, and by the end, they were hitting like pros and they were playing like pros. They’re having fun doing it.”
For Kolean, who recorded an RBI and helping his team get a win, the sense of success is certainly present.
“It felt pretty good,” he admitted.
See Thursday’s Tribune for complete all-star game results.
By Keith Allison, Tribune Intern