Young Sandy rec teams play at Smith’s BallparkAug 03, 2022 09:18PM ● By Justin Adams
By Heather Lawrence | [email protected]
Two kids’ teams from Sandy’s softball program played on the Bees professional field during the annual Playball Weekend June 11. The teams were invited along with others from around the valley.
“Sandy City has been partners with the Jr. Bees for years. Because of that relationship, we were invited to participate at the field in the Playball program,” said Laura Tobler, recreation program coordinator for Sandy City.
The Bees were just one of 150 Major and Minor League teams who hosted clinics for Playball Weekend. Clinics and games encourage youth in the community to get excited about baseball and learn new skills.
“We were excited when Sandy Parks and Rec reached out to me to see if my team would want to participate,” said coach Matt Payne of Sandy. His 7-year-old son Remy plays on his coach pitch team.
“We got five or six kids from our team there. It was a really hot day, but we had a great time on the pro field. All the kids got up to bat a few times and got to run,” Payne said.
Payne grew up in Sandy and his family is active in Sandy Rec flag football, soccer, baseball and other sports.
“We’re always involved in something, and Sandy Rec is a great organization,” Payne said. “At this age these kids are just learning how to play, and I think these experiences are really cool.”
Payne said since he used to work for the Bees, Remy is a “bit spoiled” and has been to the field before for games and other events. But for the other kids on his team it was a new experience.
“Remy was really excited to share it with his friends. He’s been to the Smith’s field, but this is the first time he’s played on it. They kept thinking the grass wasn’t real because it was so green. I told them it was just really well taken care of,” Payne said.
Payne’s team played against another Sandy team of 7-year-olds coached by Dallas Reid. Reid’s son William plays on the team.
“Playing at the field was amazing. We got free tickets to a Bees game. You have to swing harder because the field is bigger. And running the bases takes a long time—it just keeps going on and on!” William said.
Ricky Wagner is on Reid’s team, and the game was doubly memorable for him. “He lost his first tooth during the game!” said Ricky’s dad Ryan Wagner. “He went around telling everyone who would listen that he lost his tooth.”
Cohen Carter was excited to play on the field because he’d gone to a Bees game just a few nights earlier. “Batting is what I really like, and Coach Reid taught us to ‘squish the bug’ to make the hit smooth.”
Kade Bagley loved playing on the field but got tired “because of all the running.” When their team’s game was done they got to go to the real diamond and run the bases. “I got a hit and got to go all the way to home,” Kade said.
Davis Begent was playing his third season with Sandy and was on Reid’s team. His mom Laura said he’s loved playing on Sandy teams.
“Davis loves playing with coach Reid and getting to know more kids in the neighborhood by being on a team with them. And then being able to play with his buddies in the big stadium, that was such a neat thing for them to experience together,” Begent said.
The purpose of the program is to get more kids excited about playing baseball. In addition to the games going on that day, the Bees hosted clinics which all filled up fast. Coach Payne said this is an experience that will stick with the kids.
“Whether it really clicks with them and they love to play baseball or not, having the experience of playing on the field is really cool,” Payne said. “It’s something they and their families will remember for a long time.”