Lady Tigers hold softball clinic

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Saturday female athletes from in and around Greenville had the opportunity to learn from college athletes.

The University of West Alabama's softball team came to town and conducted a clinic at the Greenville Softball Complex.

"I think it as a great success," said Donna Sunnycalb, coach of the Greenville High Tigers softball team. "I think it would have been more successful had we been in school the previous week. But we had 18 kids total, and would have had more had we been in school."

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For some of the girls in Greenville, fastpitch softball is relatively new.

Greenville High has only been playing fastpitch competitively for three years. The drawback to waiting so long to switch is that the recreation league couldn't change over. Greenville has only been playing Dixie fast pitch for three or four years.

But, for a young and inexperienced team, having a new coach with connections is a plus. That's how Sunnycalb put the clinic together.

"I am a West Alabama alum," Sunnycalb said. "I played softball there for four years and the coach there is one of my best friends. So I just picked up the phone and gave her a call. Basically, called in a favor and she came down and helped us out."

The clinic was divided into two halves with the morning focusing on hitting and the afternoon being all about defense.

"We had it set up like a basic day camp," said Keli Jo Lenz, assistant coach of the West Alabama Lady Tigers. "We had it set up with hitting in the morning and a variety of hitting stations."

Participants had the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of hitting through various stations before coming back and going one on one with a pitching machine to test what they had learned.

"There was several girls from Greenville High and several girls from the community," Lenz said. "There was a wide variety of talent. For the most part the talent was good. I don't think that everyone was on the same level because some of the girls had played for years and some are just learning the game."

In the afternoon, participants had the opportunity to work on their defensive knowledge.

"We broke for about an hour for lunch," Lenz said. "Then we came back and had defensive stations and the girls had the chance to go and learn defensive skills."

The benefits of a camp like this are mutually beneficial.

For the participants, it's a chance for them to learn and become better athletes. For those conducting the clinic, it was an opportunity to market them selves and scout talent.

"Anytime we can go and get the girls to come to us that's big," Lenz said. "It's a lot easier than us go to each individual game. Looking at the girls, Coach Sunnycalb was pointing out the kids that she wanted us to look at."

Despite not being able to officially practice until the end of January, Sunnycalb is already planning on putting together another clinic in the spring.

"I hope to have another in the springtime," Sunnycalb said. "If not for my season, have it in time for the youth season."