In Parkwood, two young baseball talents, Cohen Bester and Tagon Swartz, aim to defy the odds and are making waves in the sport, despite the challenging circumstances they face at home.
These 11-year-olds, who attend Hyde Park Primary School, live with single mothers in backyard dwellings.
Under the guidance of their dedicated coach, Ricardo Marinus, and the support provided by their team, Battswood, these budding athletes are emerging as rough diamonds ready to shine if the necessary support remains intact.
Having only picked up a baseball bat two years ago, Cohen and Tagon have recently earned their provincial colours and are set to join the Western Cape squad at the National Baseball Championships in the Eastern Cape in March.
Marinus sees them as exceptional talents, representing not only their potential on the field but also the resilience they exhibit in their challenging home environments.
While their skill on the baseball diamond is evident, the challenge lies in the financial burden associated with pursuing a career in the sport.
Marinus, along with the Battswood team, is committed to polishing these young talents and providing support within their means.
He acknowledges the harsh reality that talented players often miss out on opportunities due to their backgrounds and financial constraints.
“Too many times, talented players miss out on opportunities because of their background and home situations that do not allow them to be supported financially for sports,” says Marinus.
Despite only having two years of experience, Cohen and Tagon, both pupils at Hyde Park Primary, hold their own against players who have been groomed in the sport from a young age.
“It is remarkable what they have achieved in such a short space of time. We usually send our top players for trials, and they were the two that were excelling, holding their own against players who have been in the game for a long time,” Marinus says proudly.
He emphasises that opportunities like these should not be taken lightly in impoverished communities where social ills are rife.
As they gear up for the National Baseball Championships, these young players from Parkwood symbolise hope and the transformative power of sports against all odds.
Close to R10 000 will be needed to support their trip to the national championships. Anyone willing to support can contact Battswood baseball club secretary Diedre Marquard on 083 570 0777 or email@example.com