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Playing with the big boys

It could be said Dixie Youth Dodgers players Kayla Benton and Montana Brown are playing with the big boys.

Well, maybe not big boys, but boys nonetheless.

Benton and Brown both opted to play baseball with the boys this season, rather than playing softball.

But these girls aren’t just playing. They are excelling.

“I haven’t updated my stats in a while, but the last time I did, Kayla was leading the team in batting average,” said Dodgers coach Lin Roberts. “And Montana was third or fourth, so I moved her up in the batting order to the three hole.”

The girls’ success on the baseball field is nothing new for either of them.

“Kayla was on our tournament team three years ago. Montana’s been on tournament team before,” Roberts said.

Benton tried her hand at softball, but said that Roberts convinced her to come back to baseball.

“He talked me into it. I played softball last year, but the Dodgers needed an extra player,” Benton said. “It’s been easier playing baseball.”

However, Roberts said Benton was eager for a return to baseball. “It didn’t take much talking. She wanted to play. All she needed was the opportunity,” Roberts said.

Brown said she has yet to play organized softball, but doesn’t see herself giving up on baseball.

“I play baseball because it’s easier,” Brown said. “It’s easier because the pitchers are further back and they don’t throw underhanded.”

Brown certainly made it look easy in the Dodgers’ game against the Rays on Friday, a day that was also Brown’s 12th birthday.

Even though the Dodgers lost 4-3, Brown had two hits and scored a run.

Brown also pitched against one Rays batter in the sixth inning.

That batter grounded the ball back to Brown, who turned and threw the ball to the shortstop at second, who then threw the ball to first base for a double play.

Appropriately, Benton was the shortstop who helped turn the double play.

Roberts said he has grown accustomed to the girls making great plays.

“The eye-hand coordination on both of these girls is great,” Roberts said. “A whole team of them would be great. They just hit the ball good. They’re good players. They hang with the boys.”