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Tooth or Consequences

Meadeau hangs tough as Pirates claim Maryville Little League opener

Lily Meadeau proudly displays the loss of her first tooth after the Pirates won the season’s first game on Monday. Photo by Keith Driver. For more photos from the game, please visit our Photo Store or click the link at top of site.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

She’s 6 years old and super tough.

Lily Meadeau (pronounced, Meadow) wasn’t going to let anything like losing her first tooth slow her down.

An Angels slugger stays down with a low pitch on Monday.

An Angels batter stays down with a tough pitch on Monday.

It was opening day for Maryville Little League, and the T-ball Pirates were locked in a tight game with the Angels.

It could go either way, so Meadeau stayed in the lineup.

“All of a sudden the coach comes over and says, ‘I have something for you,’” Jalene Meadeau, Lily’s mom, said. “‘It’s a little dirty.’”

Loose for a couple days, Lily’s tooth had dislodged during a routine fielding play. She hadn’t been struck by a batted ball or anything.

“It didn’t hurt,” she said. “I was just walking and it fell out.”

Between innings, Lily informed Pirates coach Jenny Knight of the loss. It’s not the kind of thing a softball coach has deal with on a daily basis, but Knight kept it together.

“I told her, ‘Come on and get in the dugout. I’ll find it,’” Knight said.

It took a few minutes — a softball diamond isn’t the easiest place for such a treasure hunt — but Knight made good on the promise.

“I told her, ‘It’s a little dirty, but the tooth fairy doesn’t care,’” Knight said.

A couple of innings later, Kaylee Talbott made sure it all had a happy ending, the 5-year-old slugger getting the game-winning hit as the Pirates prevailed in a close one, 14-13.

Lily was pretty pumped over the expectant windfall once the tooth fairy got to the house that night. For Jalene, it’s more about the teamwork and friendships forged.

“For this age it’s perfect to stay in town and have competition from people in their school,” she said.

For Knight, it’s more about the sense of self-confidence Little League can build in young players.

“I enjoy the improvement,” said Knight, who played her college softball at Lincoln Memorial. “From fall to spring, just to see them grow and getting better is tremendous.”

A 6-year-old who’ll put her team before losing her first tooth is a little on the inspiring side as well.

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