For years, High Park rep teams have been some of the best baseball and T-Ball anywhere. The Diamonds, HP’s all-girl rep T-Ball team has been one of the best among them. They’ve been part of great tournaments across the region and, as one opposing coach said, “they really handed it to a lot of those teams who thought they could steam roll over the girls.”
It should come as no surprise that some of the players from these teams would also go on to have great Little League baseball careers. Andrea Neal, currently coaching the Knights, is an obvious example.
Today, Neal has passed the torch to girls like Amaya, who played with the Diamonds as a seven and eight-year-old, and now plays for the minors-division Colonels. Playing at a high level on some of the most competitive positions on the field, Amaya regularly anchors the infield at shortstop, directs traffic in centre field, and pitches the maximum two innings allowed by the league this year.
“For whatever reason, there seem to be some people who think that girls who were dominant in T-Ball can’t do that in baseball. Wherever that belief comes from, it’s wrong,” said league vice president Thomas Spolsky, adding, “I wish more girls would come out to the baseball try outs and see that they can compete on every play.” It’s not just Amaya. There are whole bunch of other girls playing great baseball and I have every reason in the world to think that many more could play just like her, especially the ones graduating from our T-Ball program.”
Amaya has also earned the respect of her teammates and become a leader in a tight-knit group. Atticus, her 10-year-old teammate who will graduate to the majors with her in 2022, had this to say: “Amaya is a great team player and has a positive attitude when she plays. In every game and practice, she tries her best. Amaya is also very strong. She got hit by the ball many times and all she does is walk it off to first. She has encouraged me to be braver and be a better team player. We are lucky to have her on our team.”
In any sport, perhaps the most sincere flattery comes in the form of respect and admiration from opposing teams. Peter Paz, Cyclones head coach and former T-Ball commissioner said, “I’ve seen Amaya play since she was seven years old. Every year, she just keeps getting better. When the Cyclones play the Colonels, we make sure their top players are given the respect that they have earned. Amaya is at the top of the list, consistently putting the bat on the ball, aggressively running the bases and is a reliable fielder that we would like to avoid. As an opposing coach it is hard not to cheer for a player like her who continues to impress every time we play the Colonels.