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FDA softball camp to be held June 1-4

Fort Dale Academy is kicking off the summer months with a four-day softball camp for girls in grades 1-6 Monday.

Girls will be divided into multiple groups based on age and experience, each helmed by a member of the varsity softball team.

The only things girls will need to bring for the camp, which costs $60 for all four days, is a pair of cleats, gloves, a bat and a willingness to learn.

Newly-hired Fort Dale Academy head softball coach Josh Ritter is making an attempt to reach younger players with hopes of getting them involved into the athletic program, with lessons on fundamentals such as the basics of hitting, fielding ground and fly balls and property throwing mechanics.

His mantra is simple: train a child up in the way she should go, so when she is old she will not depart from it.

“I feel that if we work with the kids from first grade and on up, by the time they get to where they’re playing competitively in high school, you won’t have to push as hard because they’ll have been doing it for years,” Ritter said.

The camp not only affords an opportunity for Fort Dale Academy’s younger crop of girls to get acquainted with the game of softball, but also a chance for Ritter to get acquainted with the Fort Dale community.

“It gives me an opportunity to be able to connect with the younger kids so they know who their softball coach is, and the people in the community will be able to communicate and be able to know who I am as a coach and what I’ll expect from the kids as they get older,” Ritter said.

An equally huge benefit lies in getting ahead of the curve with his future players.

“It’ll help me as a coach when the kids get older and they have the fundamentals down and we can get right into practice and just get better at the fundamentals and move on to more strategy,” Ritter added.

But most of all, Ritter hopes that all of his campers walk away with a newfound appreciation of the game.

“I’m hoping they gain the excitement for the sport of softball,” Ritter said.

“I’m hoping they enjoy it, and they’re wanting to come out year after year and eventually, once they reach seventh grade, they’ll want to continue into high school athletics.

“That’s my ultimate goal—it’s to make it fun for them, make it where they learn and make it so that they love the game of softball.”