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In America's pastime, few positions are as synonymous with baseball as the bat boy or bat girl. 

The job itself is pretty self-explanatory: after a player completes their at-bat, it's the bat boy's duty to retrieve their bat and return it to the dugout. There are also other odd jobs around the dugout, but that's the crux of it. 

At Falcon Park this season, there are four bat boys and one bat girl that operate within the host and visiting dugouts. 

One is Jack Cavallaro, a former baseball player at Jordan-Elbridge who's worked as a bat boy for the Auburn Doubledays for four years. Another is Savannah Dygert, a first-year batgirl and a student at Auburn High School. 

Their responsibilities are straightforward: show up about an hour before first pitch to make sure each dugout has the required supplies, like ice water, Gatorade, cups to drink out of and towels, and pick up the ball bag from the umpires; during the game, remove bats from the field after every at-bat, provide baseballs and a cold drink for the umpires, and watch out for foul balls; and after the game make sure the dugout is clean for the next day.

"We're here like an hour after every game," Cavallaro said. "We don't have to deal with seeds this year because of the turf. We're like the last ones to leave the stadium every night."

Being right in the thick of the action, being a bat boy provides a unique perspective of the game, as well as an opportunity to interact with the players, coaches and umpires. 

"I've had good interactions. The umps are pretty nice," said the 15-year-old Dygert, who typically occupies the visiting dugout. "Those are the ones I look forward to because you tend to have conversations with them a lot more than the players. It's just normal conversation, like 'It's hot' or we talk about long the inning is taking.

"There's nice players and nice coaches. One of the first times I was here like the whole team knew my name and after the game were thanking me and everything."

The umpires also aren't afraid to laugh at themselves when they know they might've made a bad call. 

"The fans are yelling at them," Cavallaro said, "and a lot of the times they know it."

While the responsibilities are simple, a bat boy must constantly focus on the game or risk some heat from the coaching staff, or be hit by a stray foul ball. Dygert admits to having already been plunked by a wayward ball in the chest — bat boys and bat girls are required to wear helmets — while Cavallaro expressed the importance of keeping on your toes. 

"The home dugout especially, you need to pay attention," Cavallaro said. "If you miss something, since the coaches there know you they'll make fun of you and mess with you. It's not hard but it's not something you want to zone out during."

While it's not the most celebrated role, being a bat boy or bat girl is just another position that helps make Falcon Park, or any ballpark, tick on game days. 

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Sports reporter Justin Ritzel can be reached at 282-2257 or at justin.ritzel@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @CitizenRitz.

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