4s through 6s tee off

Published 12:01 am Sunday, May 29, 2011

Dixie Youth tee ball player Landon Kruger, 6, hits the ball off the tee during a game Thursday evening at Duncan Park. Kruger plays for the Silas Simmons team, which is coached by Andrew Krevolin. (Michael Kerekes \ The Natchez Democrat)

NATCHEZ — The 4- through 6-year-olds on the tee ball team are learning some of the game’s basics while not having to worry about the score.

That was head coach Andrew Krevolin’s description of what he’s trying to instill in his younger players before they graduate to coach pitch in the next few years.

The Silas Simmons team had a party celebrating their season Thursday evening before a matchup, and Krevolin said he’s enjoyed working with this year’s group.

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“I’ve had my son both years that I’ve been coaching, but this is a new group of kids than the one I coached last year,” Krevolin said.

“They’re very excited to be playing, and they enjoy learning. Throughout the season, they’ve responded well to coaching and learning to be teammates. They all have to work together.”

At such a young age, Krevolin said the teams don’t keep score at their games, focusing instead on the positives of the game.

“We just play for fun,” he said. “We play two-inning games. We just want them to have a positive experience and to continue playing past this season, instead of getting hung up on the score and quitting.

“We’re just trying to teach them the basics for when they get older, which they can take with them as they keep playing.”

The basics include hand-eye coordination for hitting and fielding and knowing to let the person the ball is hit to do the fielding.

Larry Douglas, 5, said hitting is his favorite part about tee ball, but he likes his position in the field, too.

“I hit it far,” Douglas said. “I like first. That’s where they throw the ball to, and I catch it.”

Douglas is also a soccer player, but if he had to pick which sport he likes best, it’s an easy choice for him.

“Baseball!” Douglas said.

Landon Kruger, 6, also enjoys hitting and first base.

“I can hit it into the outfield,” Kruger said. “Once, I hit a grand slam, and it knocked the lights out.”

Krevolin said there were several reasons he decided to coach tee ball.

“I enjoy baseball, and I wanted to be able to spend time with my son Jack (who’s on the team),” Krevolin said. “I enjoy spending time with him.”