The baseball season brings out the boys of summer, as they excite the crowd with pitching strikes, sliding into home plate and catching fly balls.
For Brownstown moms Kylene Steward and Nikki Huff, both of their 9-year-old sons have played baseball since they were 6 years old.
“This is our summertime family,” Steward said.
The top-12 Brownstown boys on a 9-year-old age team were nominated and voted on by their league coaches in order to make the roster for the Babe Ruth League’s Cal Ripken Division.
Story continues below gallery
Their team is called the Brownstown All-Stars, and the coaching staff for the All-Stars have been together for four years.
Coaches include: Brian Wheeler, Kevin Gwin, Aaron Killey and Seth Branaman.
The Brownstown All-Stars began their season in April and run through August.
“These boys have been playing together since 6 years old,” Wheeler said.
“They have played well over 100 games together as an All-Star team.”
Playing in the Cal Ripken baseball league gives young baseball players an opportunity to play against a variety of opponents in and out of the state.
“We are a small league compared to most in our state tournaments, and we are usually the smallest to compete in the Ohio Valley Regional,” Wheeler said. “But we are proud of our success in the Cal Ripken baseball league.
“This year alone, Brownstown Baseball Association had six teams finish in the top-four in the state of their respective age groups.”
Wheeler said there is a total of 240 kids who play in the Cal Ripken baseball league, ranging from ages 5 to 12.
On July 15 and 16, both Lane Steward and Evan Schneider advanced with their team to play against the Newburgh Blue Knights in hopes of capturing the semistate title.
“All the boys really love baseball,” Huff said. “I think that’s the biggest reason of why they’ve gotten this far (in the tournament).”
In the games against Newburgh, Wheeler said, “The team, as a whole, really hit the ball well, and our pitching was solid. In both games we had a lead going into the sixth inning but couldn’t hold it. It’s something the boys will have to learn from. They are a resilient group of kids, and this will give them extra motivation for the rest of the season.”
In two games, Brownstown lost to Newburgh.
In Friday’s game the score was 8-9 in eight innings, and in Saturday’s game the score was 5-8 after six innings.
“Pierson Wheeler pitched five complete innings in one game, allowing only two runs,” Wheeler said. “Caiden Gwin pitched three complete innings in game two, allowing zero runs. Defensively we turned four double plays in the series.”
Even though the All-Stars lost the state title to Newburgh, at the end of July the team will travel to Mt. Sterling, Kentucky to compete in the Ohio Valley Regionals.
Huff said that her son eats, sleeps and dreams of baseball.
“Now that kids can start out so young in sports, being a baseball player is all that Evan wants to be when he grows up,” she said.
For the Stewards, baseball is a big part of their lives.
“Whenever Lane has a project or paper due for school, he will do it on a baseball player,” Steward said. “Since he has played baseball for three years now, he really looks up to sports figures. Everyone in this community is so tight knit and supports our local sports. My husband and I are so happy that our boys are growing up here (in Brownstown).”