Kids having fun … coaching kids



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Bailey Hewatt and Devon Pishalski, who play baseball for Viera High School, guide the Blue Wahoos in their free time.

Jill Gaines

Five local teenagers are having quite a blast teaching baseball to a bunch of youngsters in the Viera Suntree Little League.

“I absolutely love it,” said Viera High senior Bailey Hewatt.

Hewatt, along with Viera classmates AJ D’Arco, Anthony Iannacone, Alex Klinger and Holy Trinity’s Devon Pishalski are coaching three teams of 5-7 year olds in the VSLL’s fall league under the guidance of VSLL coach Bobby Caruso.

“It’s not only special, but it’s a dream for these young teenage boys to manage and coach the younger kids,” Caruso said. “They are impacting and touching lives at a very young age, which makes it even more special.

“The younger kids look up to them and are learning so much about the game of baseball.”

Caruso came up with the idea last spring, and with the approval of VSLL president Cris Smith, one team was managed by D’Arco and Iannacone last spring. Because it went so well, the number is now up to five.

“We just like working with the kids and helping them become better ballplayers,” D’Arco said. “… I thought it would be a lot harder and more difficult, but it’s actually really fun and pretty easy to do.”

The teenagers, who receive community service hours for their coaching efforts, are coaching kids at a very important time in their baseball development.

“It’s a big move going from T-Ball to machine pitch,” Hewatt said. “It’s either a make-or-break with the kids. You can either have them enjoy baseball and continue it for the rest of their lives, or you can make it not fun for them.

“Considering this age is all about fun … the fact that my kids are happy and having fun, it makes me feel like I did what I was supposed to do as a coach — make them enjoy the game.”

D’Arco said he likes coaching so much, he might consider doing even more of it down the road.

“I would love to get into coaching when I get older, whether it’s my kids or some other organization I can help out with,” he said.

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