By Darryl G. Smart
Markus Woodley could crush the opponent’s spirits with one swing of the bat, while lifting his teammate’s spirits in the dugout with his leadership and ability to be a great friend. Those are two big reasons the nine-year-old that attends Boston Public School was named Baseball Ontario’s Rep Player of the Year, 13U and below.
“I got to stay up late on the weekend to watch it (ceremony),” Woodley said. “When my picture came up, my parents were so excited. I was too.”
His father, Jay Woodley, couldn’t believe it.
“I was super flattered that he was named MVP in Simcoe, let alone in Ontario,” Jay Woodley said.” “It was a strong team. It’s a very hard choice to pick. They all took turns leading. You can pick a different player of the game every night.
“To hear about the OBAs was very surprising,” he said. “This is for all 13 and under players, which is amazingly hard to wrap your head around.”
He said the award was based on a number of factors and that head coach Ryan Meade’s nomination letter pointed the people making the decision towards Markus because of his words.
“Ryan’s letter was super. It was very kind of him,” Jay Woodley said.
Meade’s letter reads,
“I had the pleasure of being the head coach of the provincial champion rookie rep team. Markus Woodley was the heart and soul of this team. We had a few rules on the bench, 1) we only say positive things 2) we cheer for everyone 3) No negative outburst.
Markus led this team in each of those rules. If someone had a bad play, he would come off the field, put his arm around them and give them encouragement. This would happen multiple times throughout the season.
If there was an outburst, Markus would wait and read the situation, then find a way to change the energy into something positive.
Finally my favourite, ‘We Cheer for everyone.’ This man had the biggest voice on the team. The energy he brought into a game was unmatched, always on his feet, leading the chants, the first one out of the gate on a big hit. Markus taught the team friendships and passion.
I should also mention the damage that kid did with his bat. He became our leadoff hitter due to his presence at the plate, leading the team in hits, doubles, triples and tied for the most home runs. With one swing he crushed most opponents’ spirits, and sparked the fire from within our dugout.
Any Coach would be lucky to have him.”
Those kind words and the award is still trying to sink in on the young ball player.
“I really love baseball,” Markus said. “I really liked playing on this team. We started as a team that didn’t know each other. We all became really good friends and I liked that. I’m so happy that I played on the team. We’re all such good friends.”
As for his favourite part of the game besides the great friendships he’s made.
“I love batting,” Markus said. “It’s you against nobody else. And you have control of everything. You can hit the ball anywhere you want.”