Girls brush up on softball skills

Published 9:13 am Friday, July 23, 2010

IVOR— The first annual Stronger Girls Softball Camp concluded at the H. Massey Joyner Ball Park in Ivor last week and leaders say it was a huge success.

“The girls were respectful, cooperative and eager to learn,” said Coach Alissa Smith. “In all my years of coaching, I have never had a better group to work with.”

Smith, a 10-year Division I college coach and USSSA softball camp and clinic director, and former Division I college pitcher Jessica Hurtado, along with Stronger Woman CEO, Steph Wood, directed the camp.

Also on hand were Coach Jonathan Brown and Coach Sean Wade, of the 10U and 12U to 14U groups respectively.

Wood said 16 girls from age 8 to 13 signed up for the three-day event.

“The camp is sponsored by the Stronger Woman, a non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire females to develop permanent mental, physical, emotional and spiritual strength through athletic competition, camps, clinics, mentoring and motivational speaking.

The Stronger Woman currently has four divisions, basketball, softball, nutrition and fitness and strength and agility.

Wood said the goal of the softball camp is to provide a level of training unlike what the girls have seen in this area. They learn how to play both defensively and offensively. They learn fielding, how to pitch and catch, as well as life skills.

The young ballplayers seem to be more than satisfied. Observed Eve Robertson, 13, of Franklin, who recently moved to the area from Utah. “This is much better than the camps there.

“Here the coaches are experienced and they connect with you. It makes all the difference,” she said

“We wanted to give the girls a chance to learn from the best and train like the best,” Wood said, adding, “We are very fortunate to have Alissa (Smith). She coaches camps and directs Olympic, college and professional athletes.”

Smith, also the Stronger Woman Softball Division Director, praised the camp and its leaders. “This instruction helps motivate the girls and makes them more productive. They learn about the long game, and playing it right.”

In addition to teaching the girls softball skills, Wood said the camp also served as a means to launch the Stronger Woman softball travel team, Southampton Storm.

“We will be having tryouts for three traveling teams here at the HMJ Ball Park … . Tryouts … for the 12U to 14U teams … will be … from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, July 23 and from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday, July 24.”

Makeup dates for the 10U group will be July 28 from 6 to 8 p.m. and for the 12U and 14U group from 9 to 12 noon on Aug. 7.

Wood said she would like to give special thanks to several businesses sponsoring the camp, including Bobby’s Muffler Shop, Fred’s and Mackans Office Supply in Franklin, Winning Edge and Sluggers in Suffolk, Line Drive Hitting and Grayson and Emma’s Garden Spot in Courtland and the Ivor Community Athletic Association.

For more information, call Wood at 252 532-5525.