NEW HAVEN, Conn. – There will be two very special additions to the Yale softball roster this season. Six-year-old Hailey Greist and her seven-year-old brother Edwards Greist have joined the Bulldogs through Team Impact, whose mission is to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening and chronic illnesses through the power of team.
Hailey and Edwards are both from Stratford, Connecticut, and have been diagnosed with common variable immunodeficiency, an immune disorder where children have very low antibody levels and are very susceptible to infections.
An official Draft Day ceremony was held on Friday night in the Ray Tompkins House varsity room where Hailey and Edwards, accompanied by their parents, signed official Letter of Intents and met with the team and coaching staff. Handsome Dan even made a surprise visit.
"We couldn't be happier to officially welcome Hailey and Edwards to the Yale Softball family," said head coach Jen Goodwin. "They have brought smiles to our players faces since the first time we met them. We realize we are in a position where we can make a difference in their lives, and that's our No. 1 priority. Our time together provides Hailey & Edwards an outlet and a place they can be themselves, while also helping the team more than we could ever put into words."
Hailey and Edwards will attend practices, games and other special events. They have already brought the Bulldogs some good fortune. Yale won a pair of scrimmages on Saturday, knocking off Manhattanville 3-1 and Fairfield 8-2.
Since its inception in 2011, Team Impact has matched 1,100+ children to over 450 colleges and universities throughout the country. The child gains great strength, camaraderie and support and the student athletes are taught lessons about courage, resiliency and life perspective that they can't learn in a classroom.
"Our team absolutely loves any time Hailey and Edwards can come around," said softball captain Allison Skinner. "They are so full of life and love. They remind our team every day that sports are supposed to be about bringing people together and the family you create through them. When Hailey is around, she takes the time to ignore all of our real names and has given us all new nicknames, that we now have started calling each other. And whenever Edwards gets his hands on a ball, you know he's going to show off his lefty arm to you. Their official addition to our family is going to add so much passion and joy back into our game that we love so much. We are very happy to have them as a part of Yale Softball."