Another major accolade for eight-year-old Whitby baseball player Ashlynn Jolicoeur. After garnering international attention with her viral video, ESPN is recognizing her in a network-wide segment and that has led to a celebration in her home town.
“I just want to play baseball,” said Jolicoeur.
That video message has made an impression on millions of people around the world.
So much so that Jolicoeur has cracked SportsCenter’s iconic top 10 plays list in the U.S.
“When we saw Ashlynn’s play and heard her story, we were inspired and knew immediately she was an athlete we wanted to recognize as part of the Home of SC Top Ten nationwide tour. We know Ashlynn ‘just wants to play baseball’ but she’s done much more than that and we hope she and the community can put the batting cage to good use for many seasons to come,” said John Lobo, ESPN Brand Marketing manager.
“It’s really cool, like all of it is really cool,” said Jolicoeur.
Thursday ESPN was in Whitby to celebrate and honour the eight-year-old’s achievement.
“I didn’t expect any of this to happen but here it is happening,” said Jolicoeur.
“This is how she is when I work with her, she’s at team practice or games, just loves it. I didn’t expect anything so big like this for the mayor and everybody to show up, friends and family, teammates, just an amazing day she’ll never forget,” said Ashlynn’s dad Dan Therien.
Ashlynn’s name was printed on baseballs, batting helmets and bats. She was also given an outstanding achievement medal from the town.
“To be the only Canadian being recognized and to hear what she’s done in terms of her accomplishment and playing on a boys team with a lot of older boys, being MVP and just letting her talent speak for herself in a real positive way,” said Whitby Mayor Don Mitchell.
“It’s a pretty special honour, I’ve seen it all year so I’m not that surprised but it’s pretty special,” said Andrew Haines, Ashlynn’s Coach.
“We all get told we should be playing softball and seeing that a young girl like her is playing baseball is a great message for those girls that are involved in the sport and want to continue to play the sport as well,” said Emma Carr, who plays on Baseball Canada’s women’s national team.
ESPN had a short video for Ashlynn before unveiling and cutting the ribbon on a public installation at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre Batting Cage.
“I like that everyone’s supporting me in this and that nobody’s putting bad comments,” said Jolicoeur.
“We didn’t post the video and it just exploded and I’m just glad it turned into a positive story,” said Therien.
Ashlynn is one of 10 athletes and the only Canadian that ESPN is commemorating locally in their hometowns. She will be featured nationally in the states on SportsCentre on October 10th, designated as SC Top 10 Day.