They are champs once again!
For the fourth year in a row, the girls grade 6 slo-pitch softball team at Rolph Road Public School won the city championships under coach Brian Deeks.
Joining them this year as champs, the school’s grade 6 boy’s slo-pitch softball team, with coach Duncan Gallop, won for the first time.
The championship games were held at Centennial Park at the end of October, with finalists from the four conferences of the Toronto Board of Education slo-pitch league (TBSSAA). The girls, students from grades 4-6, were particularly anxious to keep up their winning streak.
Deeks, a grade 6 teacher at Rolph Road, has coached the girls every year. He begins recruiting and training in June. For girls who have never played before, he starts them practicing with rubber balls until they get the hang of it.
“We even got the girls together a few times during the summer,” he says. “Then I pick as many as I can and make sure they all play in at least one game. At the final game, however, the goal as a team is to win as a team.”
“It is particularly rewarding to see their interest in baseball grow,” he adds.
“The girls were very, very excited,” said Beth Pierson, whose daughter, Molly, was one of a handful of grade 4 players on the girl’s team.
“Girls particularly get focused on the team aspect,” she adds. “Even doing the cheers becomes very important!
“But they are taught to display good sportsmanship and not to go overboard when they know they are winning.”
Pierson’s two older daughters played on previous winning teams and for the past four years she’s been involved herself, supporting the team and helping to coach the bases.
“Baseball is certainly alive and well in Leaside,” Pierson says, noting the many activities in the community.
Pierson credits the dedicated coaches as well as the kids themselves, who practised every morning, five days a week, since the first day of school.
Deeks has seen many who’ve played on the school’s slo-pitch teams go on to play more organized baseball in Leaside.
Each player received his or her own medal. And a banner for the boys’ team and a fourth one for the girls’ team now hang in Rolph Road School.