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Striking out to improve summer ball

News editor

Youth baseball and softball players here may look a little sharper and feel safer thanks to preseason clinics put on by two Cadet Girl Scouts.

Marion Middle School sixth grader Mikelly Soyez got the idea from watching younger players.

“I noticed a lot of young kids didn’t have good fundamentals,” she said. “We did this so kids wouldn’t get hurt and they could play better.”

Mikelly asked fellow sixth-grader Hannah Stubenhofer-May to join her in the project, which they did to fulfill requirements to earn silver awards for community service.

With blessings from Recreation and Parks Director Margo Yates and regional Girl Scout officials, the pair got to work late in February.

They lined up Marion High School baseball coaches Roger Schroeder and Jordan Metro and softball coach Jennifer Felvus to conduct the clinics, then set to work creating registration forms and publicity fliers. While silver award projects require 50 hours of work, the girls put in closer to 60 hours each.

“We didn’t have a lot of grown-up help,” Hannah said.

Not that they needed much, as 70 kids signed up for the clinics.

“I was kind of surprised how many showed up,” Mikelly said. “A lot of people said this wasn’t going to be a big deal.”

Rain interfered with planned dates and slightly depressed turnout, but more than 50 kids and their coaches participated.

“The girls did a great job of organizing it,” Schroeder said. “What I’ve tried to do in the past is help teams in the summer, but we’ve never had a formal clinic before the season. To have all the legwork done so we just put in the time teaching the kids was great.”

The girls received pins Monday during an informal awards ceremony at Historic Elgin Hotel. They were glad the project was finished but also excited to report it would have lasting impact.

“The rec department said they will use our format to offer clinics for other sports like soccer and volleyball,” Hannah said.

Last modified June 30, 2016

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