Eleven members of the University of Michigan varsity baseball team thrilled students at Lakewood Elementary Friday morning when they showed up during the school-wide community meeting.
The teammates spent more than an hour talking to the students, answering questions, reading to them in their classrooms, signing autographs, and joining in rousing rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
Junior Travis Maezes, a 2012 graduate of Pioneer High School with an impressive resume so far at U-M, was particularly popular with the students.
“This was a lot of fun; we’re giving back to the community,” he said, while signing authographs for the kids.
He recalled that when he was a student at Abbot and Dicken elementaries, high school athletes from the Pioneer Trailblazers program would come back to the schools to talk to the kids one-on-one.
“I was wishing I could be an athlete like them, and eventually I ended up being one, so pretty cool,” Maezes said.
Right-handed pitcher Matt Ogden was impressed by the students’ enthusiasm.
“I just had a great time being there,” he said.
Principal Michelle Seals said it’s always great to have a partnership with neighbors.
“This is one of those things that promotes community, and excitement for learning because they’re student athletes,” she said. “And when they’re here, they always aspire for other things. But to see the student focus first is the most important thing.”
Assistant coach Aaron Etchison said the players like getting out into the community and hanging out with kids.
“It’s a good change of pace from the daily grind that we’re up to,” he said. “Whether it’s visiting at the hospital, or coming and reading to the kids, we love to give back to the kids and get them into Michigan baseball.”
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