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Dedication pays off for Eabametoong kids at Thunder Bay ball tournament

Kids from Eabametoong First Nation travelled to Thunder Bay, Ont. to play ball last week.
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      Elementary school kids in Thunder Bay, Ont. took to the ball diamonds at Chapples Park on Wednesday, as part of the Lakehead Elementary Athletics three-pitch tournament. 

      One team in attendance travelled farther than most to take part, journeying all the way from Eabametoong First Nation. 

      The trip meant a half-hour plane ride, followed by a four-hour drive for the team of kids in Grades four to six from John C Yesno school, and the kids have been working hard to get ready. 

      "We probably practiced three or four times a week, at least," said teacher, and one of the coaches, Keith Reinhart.

      "But the kids wanted to practice more sometimes so they'd come to our houses and wake us up in the morning ... on a weekend — 'let's practice.' So they were really into it. They fully committed, and it's paying off here."

      It's the team's second year competing in Thunder Bay. 

      While the kids were doing well in their games, Reinhart said he's just as proud of the team's sportsmanship and how they've grown into leaders through playing the sport. 

      "They're encouraging the other team, helping them with their batting stance, congratulating them, giving them high fives," he said. "That's the greatest growth I've seen here aside from the actual baseball itself, [they're] becoming young leaders."

      Listen to CBC Thunder Bays Superior Morning feature on the team here: