With just a few weeks left on the schedule, the White Rock-South Surrey Yankees are closing in on a perfect season.
The Tadpole-division baseball squad – made up of eight- and nine-year-olds – is currently undefeated, winning all their league contests, as well as tournaments in Langley and Newton.
“The kids have been playing really well,” said Yankees coach Steve Kokotailo, who coaches the team alongside Randy McKinnon.
A handful of players on the roster – five or six, Kokotailo said – have played together for a few years, and are also classmates at Semiahmoo Trail Elementary, while the new players have blended in seamlessly as well.
The reason for the team’s success, Kokotailo said, was his players’ work ethics.
“All the kids just really want to get better. And they’ve started to really want to improve. They’re coming to the park now because they love it, not just because they’re nine years old and their parents want them to.”
When the season wraps up at the end of June, a few players will likely continue to play throughout the summer on an all-star team – the roster from which is made up of players from across the association – but Kokotailo said it’s not just the all-star calibre players who’ve led the team.
“The improvement from everybody is just incredible,” he said. “We have one kid on our team, and for the last few seasons he couldn’t really hit the ball, and now he’s getting hits every game.
“They’ve just come a long, long way. It’s fantastic.”