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Posted: April 12, 2013 11:10 a.m.

Rice is paying it back

Paying it forward with wee ball

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Jaime Rice cheers on her wee ball league Braves of the Newton County Recreation Commission.

Scott Baize was such an important part of Jaime Rice’s youth, she decided to follow in his footsteps.

Baize guided Rice throughout more than a decade of youth softball, helping her get through Eastside High School and into Georgia Perimeter College, where she studies accounting while working for a Covington company as a bookkeeper.

Now that Rice has some free time on her hands, and a young girl of her own, she has decided it was her turn to start coaching and leading children on the baseball diamond.

Rice is currently coaching the Wee Ball Braves of the Newton County Recreation Commission, ages 4–5 year olds, including her 4-year-old daughter Madison.

“(Baize) had a huge impact on my life and my teammates, with not only teaching us the fundamentals of the game but he also left a huge impression on all our lives. So I wanted to, hopefully, do the same as he did for us.”

With the Braves, Rice is teaching the basic fundamentals, as most of the kids are picking up a ball and bat for the first time.

During the first week or so of wee ball practice, Rice and her fellow coaches worked on getting the kids to learn how to watch the ball, get in the batting circle and try to hit. After grasping that first concept, Rice is currently trying to get the Braves’ players to tag the other team with the ball.

While those are baby steps of improvements in her players’ techniques, there’s one bigger tell Rice uses to see if her players are getting what she is trying to teach them.

“My main importance is for the kids to have fun and learn how to play,” Rice said. “If they’re smiling, I know we’re doing our best. And, I also want to teach them it’s OK to make mistakes.”

Among those kids having fun is Madison, who doesn’t seem to mind her mother leading her team.

“It’s not completely something new like with the other kids,” Rice said.

For Rice, she also enjoys spending the extra time with Madison, while also learning how to lead her on the field.

“It’s been a learning experience,” Rice said jokingly.

Just like she learned from Baize, while playing second base and catcher for his teams, Rice is teaching her pupils, not only how to play softball and baseball but also the attitude one should have while playing.

“(I’ll keep doing it)” as long as I encourage them and show them good sportsmanship and keep them involved and motivated and having fun; so far, we haven’t had any problems,” Rice said.

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