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Prep softball: Softball teams staying ahead

Foothill League teams see record turnouts for summer camps

Posted: July 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 29, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

Work has already begun on the 2012 Foothill League softball season.

Five programs have already completed summer camp, while one more begins on Monday with the hope of getting a jump on the coming year.

“It gives us an idea of what we have coming in, what we are going to need to work on and things we can get going right away,” said Canyon head coach Dwain Whalen.

The Cowboys, Golden Valley, Hart, Saugus and Valencia all completed their summer camp last week.

The camps, which must be scheduled around a mandatory 21-day no-contact period, ranged from two to five weeks, and culminated with scrimmages.

Whalen said he had 36 girls attend this year.

The Grizzlies’ participation exceeded that number.

“Last year, Golden Valley had about seven or 10 girls show up to the summer camp,” said Grizzlies second-year head coach Hugo Castillo. “This summer camp, there was anywhere between 37 and 43 girls that showed up. Ninety percent of them were freshman and sophomores, which is very exciting for the program.”

Last year, Golden Valley notched its first Foothill League win — 1-0 over Canyon — since 2008.

Castillo said interest in the program has spiked as a result of the team’s improvement and new philosophy.

It’s business as usual for Saugus, however, after winning its first outright league title since 1999.

Centurions head coach Julie Watson estimated that 35-40 girls attended the camp.

“Our goal has always been to win the league championship,” Watson said. “Pretty much everything is going to stay the same.”

During the camps, players learn batting and fielding techniques and are evaluated. As a result, the coaching staff gets an early gauge of the team’s talent and interest level. Some teams are also able to get logistical issues worked out, including physicals, paperwork and inventory.

Most importantly, before any games are played or official practices take place, the players begin to acclimate to each other and the team’s standards.

“It’s more of an introduction to the new girls that are coming into the school,” said Hart head coach Steve Calendo, whose camp was comprised of 18 participants.

Some girls were absent, though.

The Santa Clarita Valley has a strong presence in travel softball, and many players have other obligations.

One such obligation is next week’s Premier Nationals in Huntington Beach, as well as last month’s Colorado Independence Day Tournament in Boulder, Colo.

They are a few examples of the summer travel ball schedule.

Valencia head coach Donna Lee said her entire varsity team plays in travel ball tournaments and will come back and help from time to time.

“We don’t want to overdo it,” Lee said. “We want them to look forward to the season. They play year round anyway, so they need a little down time, believe me.”

Lee added that she usually has around 20 participants. The 38 she had this season were the most she’s ever had.

West Ranch head coach Bob Shults is also leery of overworking his players this year and said he expects to cut the winter workouts for the second consecutive season.

The Wildcats’ camp opens Monday.

“We should have a pretty good core of kids coming in,” Shults said.

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