Well, technically she's not an All-Star (they don't do that in Fall Ball), but Anna June's performance on Sunday may have earned her a spot on a team if one existed.
Anna June was a the pitcher position again. She didn't quite have the arm for third base, but she is paying attention, which is critical at pitcher. You have to know what's going on in the game, and how to field. We spent almost our whole lunch on Sunday discussing hypothetical fielding situations, and when it was game time, she was ready.
First off, Anna June caught a pop-up. If you've never had a kid play 7-8 year old ball (or younger), you will know that this almost never happens. They are not known for their catching skills. They get better as they mature and practice, but almost no kid catches a ball in the air for an out. But Anna June did. We were so excited. I was almost bursting with pride, and, frankly, surprise. We've seen play after play of almost catches, and we've seen her stop lots of grounders, but we had never seen her catch a ball in the air in a game. Never. I think she was surprised, too - it was almost like she didn't know what to do with it once it was in her glove. She didn't have to do anything: it was the third out!
We were amazed, as were our fellow parents in the stands. We were all so excited.
And then, she caught another fly ball for another out.
And then she did it again.
That's right - THREE outs of the game were because AJ caught them in the air.
And that's not all.
Early in the game, Anna June stopped a grounder and threw it to second base (to a kid named AJ, I think). That was another kid she helped get out.
PS - We've had to call her Anna June at baseball, because there's another AJ on the team!
And then, she stopped another ground ball and got it to our first baseman, who got another kid out. Amazing.
Don't think her prowess was just limited to defense, though.
Once, she hit the ball, but was thrown out at first. The other two at-bats were solid hits. She even was able to score one of the runs.
The team got their first win, 16-8, against the Southside Cubs. Incidentally, Anna June's the only girl in their age group at Southside, so she was the only girl on either team in this game.
Since it was their first win, it was the first time that a game ball had been presented. The coach got the ball and wrote her name on it in Sharpie. At the team meeting after the game, he presented the ball to Anna June.
Afterwards, we asked her if she had been surprised. "No," she said. "I could see my name on the ball!"
The other parents were really excited for her, and told us to get her a large ice cream sundae! She declined, opting instead for pretzel goldfish crackers at home, and then dinner at Rusty's.
It was a great day!
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