Members of the Lancer baseball team spent Saturday afternoon sharing their love of the sport with youngsters from across the city.
About 80 children as young as four turned out to “First Pitch, First Catch” in the Dennis Fairall Fieldhouse. The baseball clinic was organized by Windsor West MP Brian Masse in partnership with Windsor West Little League, Nantais Athletics, and the Department of Athletics and Recreational Services.
“I like working with kids, so this is fun,” said Lancer pitcher and team co-captain Colin Jeun. With an ever-present smile on his face, the kinesiology student taught the youngsters how to run bases. Meanwhile, Jeun’s teammates ran drills on catching pop flies and grounders, batting, and other fundamentals of the game.
Community partners including members of the Windsor Lady Expos Fastball Association, officers with the Windsor Police Community Service Branch, and Take a Shot Sports and ASSIST Group which help underprivileged youth participate in sports, also participated.
Masse has been affiliated with Windsor West Little League for more than two decades. Together, they have begun offering “First Pitch, First Catch” to introduce children to the game.
“I truly believe that sport is a valued activity that can be used to promote physical activity and positive youth development while nurturing the qualities and attributes that build self-confidence,” Masse said. “This is about the kids.”
The free event included snacks and drinks, and every child took home a string bag shaped like a baseball.
The use of the fieldhouse in the Toldo Lancer Centre was made possible by a grant from IG Wealth Management. IG’s Empowerment Program allows the University to offer space in the Toldo Lancer Centre to community groups for free.
Windsor West Little League president Yvette Temple said, with the season beginning in April, the event could not come at a better time. Parents were signing up their children with the league at the event and Temple was directing others living outside the league’s boundaries to similar associations across the city.
“This was a great turnout,” said Temple. Motioning to the flurry of activity around her, she said, “This is our goal. “We just want kids playing sports.”