UWM athletes setting a prime example at Quickball tournament

With the swing of the bat, these kids were off and running in Baran Park.

If it does not look like your typical baseball or softball game, it's because it's not.

They are playing Quickball.

"Quick ball is exactly what it sounds like," said Scott Swinson. "It's just a quick version of baseball or softball. Each kid that's on offense gets one swing and one swing only. Whether they hit the ball or not, they're going from first to second to third and hopping back in line. They're racing the ball that they hit to second base to try and earn points for their team. On the other end, the defense is trying to field the ball and get it in the bucket as quickly as possible. The team with the most points at the end of three innings wins."

The Quickball tournament was put on by the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and Wisconsin Badges for Baseball programs.

The partnership is all about providing a mentor to kids who really need one.

"We want to make sure that the kids have that positive experience, and we want them to ensure that they have the mentors that Cal Junior and Billy Ripken had growing up with Cal Senior," said Tracey Pyser, Program Director for the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation. "That's why they started the foundation in 2001. So we wanted to make sure that these kids in these programs have that opportunity as well."

Not only was Milwaukee Police there to provide some guidance, but members of the UWM Panthers men's and women's basketball teams were by their side as well.

"I think getting out into the community and sort of, you know, making sure that we're helping out and, you know, we're making sure our kids can see that, you know, older kids are still involved in the community is really important," said Angelo Stuart.

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Stuart and Franklin grad Vinko Polovic were among the UWM hoopsters taking their shot at a new sport.

Polovic says he hopes to be setting a good example.

"When I was a kid I'd look up to the local teams and the older kids who played so, you know, giving back," Polovic said. "And, you know, I kind of see myself in some of these kids. So it's really cool to be out here."

It was anything but cool on this hot summer day in Milwaukee, but everyone made the most of it.

And the kids were in good spirits.

"I love watching the kids have fun," Pyser said. "I love engaging with the mentors, the law enforcement officers and the basketball players. I think it's a really good opportunity for them to give back to the community and also for the kids to be themselves and have a great time and know they have somebody to look up to."

Being a mentor was a great motivator for Stuart, but finishing up the day with a win was not too bad either.

"We were high energy all day," Stuart said. "Our team was enthusiastic. We had a lot of fun and made sure that sportsmanship was first and foremost. So we're happy that we got the win today."

The dozens of kids who played in the tournament came from Journey House, Boys and Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee, United Community Center as well as clubs from Green Bay and Chicago.