Diamonds in the rough: Christian Heritage girls enjoy playing time on baseball team

Sep 27 2010 - 11:06pm

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(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Emily Burns (left) and Brie Olds (right) both play for the Christian Heritage boys High School baseball team against St. Joseph at Rohmer Park in Washington Terrace last Thursday.
(ERIN HOOLEY/Standard-Examiner)
Emily Burns (left) and Brie Olds (right) both play for the Christian Heritage boys High School baseball team against St. Joseph at Rohmer Park in Washington Terrace last Thursday.

RIVERDALE -- They don't receive a lot of hype and would probably prefer to keep it low key, but the Christian Heritage Crusaders have more than a few guys playing baseball this season.

The Crusaders are enjoying a unique situation with two girls that are playing this year on the boys baseball team.

Brie Olds and Emily Burns played baseball when they were younger and they never really thought they'd still be playing on the prep level.

The two get some playing time at different positions and even getting some at-bats during league and non-league games.

"We would be lying in saying that we didn't want to play," Burns said. "I played when I was younger on some baseball teams and having my uncle (Harry Short) teaching me the game and telling me about the game helped me want to play.

"This is a different situation this year for us, because we know that we couldn't do this (baseball) at any other school in the area, but these guys make it possible for us to play because they enjoy having us on the team and once we get things going, I am as much of a fan of this team as anyone."

Burns was the first of the two to get things going to play. At first, she wanted just to be a manager on the Riverdale team, but it evolved quickly into playing time in certain games.

Olds played through her eighth-grade year and decided that it wouldn't be good for her to play baseball and ended up taking a year off. The time off left her wanting to come back, but she probably would not have done that if not for Burnsy already being on the team and having this group of guys to play with.

"Playing with these guys makes the game fun," Olds said. "I was nervous at first coming into this, because it was a couple of girls playing baseball. These guys have made it fun, because we can tease each other and they are good about it where as most of the local teams would be mean or look down upon us.

"We don't really start games, but we have played in a few, and each time it's a different position for us. I have played at second base, shortstop and now in the outfield. We just enjoy playing the game."

In last Thursday's game against Region 17 rival St. Joseph, Olds was able to get into the game, playing left field for the first time this year. She also made an appearance at the plate, getting hit with a pitch and being awarded first base.

Her teammates cheered her on for "wearing one" on their behalf.

Burns has also seen some action at the plate, having been walked three times this year. It's not because the opposing pitchers were trying not to pitch to them, Burns and Olds have said they are a little more selective because they want to help the team.

"We are just trying to help in whatever way we can," Burns said. "If we can play defense and get a couple of chances at the plate, that's good enough for the team. We have really enjoyed playing this year with these guys and are working hard to play more."

While it may seem to be different for most players, Christian Heritage coach Harry Short doesn't mind it at all.

"They are actually pretty good, which helps our team because they want to be a part of the team," Short said. "We can use them in different spots and the boys have actually enjoyed having them around. They are doing anything to help this team, whether it is from the bench or playing in the field."

While the year hasn't been kind to the Crusaders, record-wise, they can look to the future with a bunch of underclassmen and a couple of girls that will help them get better each and every week.

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