Show-Me State Games youth softball team boasts multi-sport athletes

Saturday, July 20, 2013 | 6:17 p.m. CDT; updated 10:06 p.m. CDT, Saturday, July 20, 2013

COLUMBIA — "We don't play with Barbie dolls. We play with bats and balls," chanted the girls of Ellisville Cardinals as their teammates played a match against the Ballisticks. 

The girls on the under-12 team also play with basketballs and soccer balls. The lineup for the team is littered with young athletes who enjoy playing a variety of sports.

A longtime softball player, Laura Toenges, 11, plays the game to have fun with her friends. But that did not stop her from being upset when her team lost its first match. 

Toenges has been playing for the Ellisville Cardinals for the last six years, but this was her first time at the Show-Me State Games. 

Marisa Kirk, 11, has been on the team since she was in second grade. She hopes to be able to play softball in college. 

Even though Kirk also plays soccer, she prefers softball, because "It's OK if I make some mistakes," she said. "My soccer coaches expect you to be perfect and yell a lot."

Melissa Price, 12, however, prefers basketball. Her reason is simple: "Because I'm better at it."

A basketball, soccer and softball player, Price has been playing softball since she was 4. She credits her father for getting her into sports. 

"But when I'm not playing a sport, I'm jumping on my friend Hannah's trampoline," Price said. 

The Ellisville Cardinals have two other girls who also play basketball in their midst — twins Courtney and Sidney Reid, 11. 

Softball players at heart, the twins "shoot hoops at home, but that's it," Sidney said. 

Although Courtney Reid also plays soccer, she prefers playing softball because she has more fun.

"I like it when people cheer me on," she said. "But I don't like it when I strike out."

Sidney Reid, however, finds herself relaxed while on the field.

"I feel relaxed because my dad always tells me to relax and loosen up," she said.

Supervising editor is Greg Bowers.

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