Chances are, they throw a baseball better than most Kodiak youths.
David and Jantz are part of Kodiak’s 11-member Major Little League baseball all-star team.
The only thing that separates the two girls from the rest of their teammates is the long-flowing hair that appears out of their caps.
“They are not intimidated to play with the boys,” all-star coach Dave Smith said. “They are pretty tough. They are as tough as any of the boys. I will put them up against anybody out there.”
David and Jantz were among a handful of girls who played baseball this year, as Kodiak endured its second-straight season without a Little League softball program.
This was both girls’ second year playing hardball.
“It’s fun and I am good at it,” said David, a first baseman and pitcher.
Jantz is a catcher and outfielder. She said the easiest part of behind the plate is “to catch the ball” and the hardest part is “diving for the ball.”
Jantz is not Kodiak’s first all-star girl catcher. Sage Glamman donned the gear last year.
However, having two girls on a team doesn’t happen every year.
“It is very unusual,” said Smith, a coach for five years. “This is the first time I have ever had girls on the team.”
Jantz was surprised she was selected to her first all-star team.
“I didn’t actually think I was that good of a player,” she said.
Shaun Walton, Louis Rochelou, Liam Center, Dustin Swearingin, Mitchell Kane, Luke James, Josh Smith, Josh Pickens and Hunter Smude fill out the rest of Kodiak’s team that begins District I pool play Wednesday in Palmer.
The team plays four pool play games, while four of the five teams advance to the District I Finals tournament in Anchorage.
Smith said the pitching of James, Josh Smith, Walton and Rochelou is the strength of the team.
“We have some pretty good pitchers,” he said. “We don’t have anybody who can blow it past anybody, but they are pretty consistent.”
Smith said his team has a good chance of getting out of pool play, which also includes Palmer, Polar, Nunaka Valley and Knik.
“You have them in practice and it is always a guessing game if we can play with the big guys, but when you get over there you get surprised. They play pretty well,” Smith said.
Kodiak’s Junior Little League all-star team begins District I round-robin play Monday against Knik-AMC in Anchorage.
All seven teams in round-robin play advance to the District I Finals tournament.
“The goal of the trip is to win a District game,” coach Brett Bezona said.
“We got a strong outfield. Are fielding is good. Hopefully, our pitchers can perform and make the pitches count.”
The team includes, Jon LeVan, John Norton, Giovanni Martinez, Joe Schactler, Trenton Foxworthy, Tyler Wietfield, Cole Squartsoff, Gus Pyles, Sam Bennett, Ryan Bezona, Kavik Eads, Owen Tuckfield and Albert Monge.
This is Bezona’s fourth all-star team, first with at the junior level.
“It is a lot of fun, but a lot of work,” he said. “You practice during the day and try to prepare them for the game at night. The hardest part is trying to keep their attention on baseball.”
Contact Mirror writer Derek Clarkston at email@example.com.