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Special connection ties Delisle Pride softball team with Ontario bat boy


Whenever the MMKL Delisle Pride softball team goes up to bat on their home diamond at Canadian U23 Men’s Softball Nationals this week, Brecken Stewart is ready to do his job.

From retrieving strewn bats to encouraging the team in the dugout, it’s a job that the 10-year-old has taken to heart.

“I feel a lot better,” said Brecken. “I’m not sitting inside all day and I have something to do, so it’s fun.”

It’s an unlikely partnership with the Saskatchewan ball club that dates back to the 2022 national tournament held in Brecken’s hometown of Carp, Ont.

Tagging along with his father Brandon who served as bagpiper for the opening ceremonies, Brecken was quickly roped into action by the Saskatchewan contingent.

“One of the Pride players came up and said, ‘Hey bud would you like to carry our sign and come on the field with us?” said Brandon. “He said yes right away and he lit right up.”

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Click to play video: 'Delisle Pride to represent Saskatchewan at home for U23 fastball nationals'

Delisle Pride to represent Saskatchewan at home for U23 fastball nationals

It wasn’t long before the Pride offered the young Ontarian the role of bat boy for the tournament, something he quickly jumped on.

With Brecken on the bench, the Pride were able to snag a third-place finish in Carp with their young bat boy receiving a bronze medal of his own for his efforts.

While Team Saskatchewan departed back to their home province, it was just the beginning of the relationship between Brecken and the players.

“His birthday was a couple of months after the tournament and that day my phone lie up,” said Brandon. “Every single player Instagrammed him a happy birthday message which just brought us right back to that week where everything was amazing.”

Seeing those messages came as a surprise to Brecken, who continued to follow along with the team throughout the following season.

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“I thought I was never going to see them again,” said Brecken. “But I did, so it made me feel better.”

In July, another surprise came Brecken’s way as Brandon gave him the news that they’d be flying out to Saskatoon in August to once again support the Pride in their chase for a national championship.

“It’s been amazing to make that kind of a difference in a kid’s life,” said Pride utility player Oakley Durham. “It’s something he’ll cherish for the rest of his life, something I know I’ll keep close to heart for the rest of my life as well.”

Delisle’s group of players have taken on the initiative as well, inviting Brecken into their team huddles before games and discussing the flow of the game in the dugout.

“It’s great for a young guy to see some role models as well going into the sport,” said Pride outfielder and catcher Damon Royan. “Softball is a dying sport as well, so to see that interest is awesome from a player. It just makes us older guys want to get into coaching and raise that next generation of ball player.”

With Brecken in tow once again, the Pride are gunning for a gold medal after settling for national silvers and a bronze dating back to 2016.

“I wanted to see them again and I got to do the championship all over again,” said Brecken.

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Even more than results, however, Brandon has seen a big shift in his son’s confidence now getting involved in intramural sports and joining a local soccer team.

All thanks to the connection formed with a team thousands of kilometres away, that extends well beyond the diamond.

“I think it’s shown him that first of all his is something and that sport brings togetherness,” said Brandon. “There’s a family atmosphere on the field, off the field. Just that thing as a whole has been fantastic.”

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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