Anna June signed up to play fall baseball at Southside in the two-team 7-8 year old league.
The teams play each other, as well as other parks in the area, including Huffman, Clay, and Fultondale.
Fall Ball is very different from the traditional baseball season. Because of when it starts and ends, the cutoff dates for ages are a little different and several players come up from the 5-6 league to 7-8. Like I said, it's very different.
Anna June is the only girl in 7-8 from Southside playing Fall Ball.
One big change is that she's playing infield.
The first game, she played third base. We realized, because she had never played infield, she didn't understand force plays. Now she does.
The second and third games, she has played the pitcher position. This league is still "coach pitch" but a kid also stands at the pitcher's mound to field balls. Anna June has done well stopping balls from getting past her. Her first time at pitcher, she learned about covering first base. Her second game, she learned about covering home. In both games, we learned that wearing the protective gear is cumbersome, but deemed necessary.
Anna June's team is the Angels. They wear these hats and shirts, along with gray pants, navy belts, and navy socks.
So she had a cleats, a glove, and a helmet. We had also promised that if she stuck with baseball, we'd get her own bat. Then the zipper broke on her bag, so we got her a less-girly and more practical baseball bag, which has a spot for her bat.
Fall Ball is less formal. For example, the schedule wasn't able to be finalized for the whole season before opening day. There was no evaluation beforehand to make the teams "fair." There's only one practice per week (usually) and one game per week. So we had one practice, and then we had one game. "That's Fall Ball!" they told us.
At the first game, the coach was to come with the jerseys and caps. He arrived at game time, leaving parents panicking over lack of uniforms and leadership for their kids. "That's Fall Ball!" we heard.
In the Spring, the concession stand is run by a person with experience, with parent volunteers supplementing on a set schedule. The day our team moms picked to help was a day that was rained out, with the rescheduled date on a weeknight where the concession stand was not open. So I had my first concession stand duty for a 3.5 hour shift! (That's Fall Ball, I assume.)
The schedule has changed several times, including the time of our game in Huffman for Week 3, causing at least one player to miss game time. Another game was cancelled so we'll play our in-park rivals. After the season started, a child who had never played baseball before joined the team. Rolling with it, evidently, is the name of the game in Fall Ball.
At the first game, Anna June had 9 fans in the stands! She had 4 at the second one, and just her dad and me at the third one (an away game). All games have been losses so far. Every game shows some improvement on the part of our kids. In the first game, AJ got a hit and was able to come in to score a run. She also got a hit in the second game. She's come close to making some big plays, and we'll expect to see more in the future.
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