Softball clinic serves two purposes: fundraising and mentoring

Kynzie King, 4-year-old first-time T-ball player, keeps up with RHS softball player Hailey Brinker. Photo courtesy of Cori McDonald
Kynzie King, 4-year-old first-time T-ball player, keeps up with RHS softball player Hailey Brinker. Photo courtesy of Cori McDonald

By Pixie Sulser

On Saturday, Feb. 2, the coaches of Ramona High School’s girls softball team caught a small glimpse of the future when 52 young athletes took to the field at the high school softball complex as participants in the annual RHS Girls Softball Clinic.

Twenty RHS softball players led the campers ranging in age from 4 to 14 in team warm-up activities before instructing participants in hitting techniques, infield skills and outfield drills.

Split into two sessions according to age, the 9 a.m to 11 a.m. slot focused on the youngest athletes and from noon to 2:30 p.m. the older girls honed their skills. The cost of the day was $25 for pre-registered campers and $30 on the day of the event.

Started in 1995 by coaches Antoinette Rodriguez and Robin Brainard, the clinic is a fundraiser for the high school program but also “provides an opportunity for younger players to better their skills and learn a little about high school softball,” said Cori McDonald, who is head varsity softball coach alongside her former mentor, Robin Brainard.

“In fact,” added McDonald, “I remember being involved as a player when I was a freshman athlete at Ramona High School.”

McDonald went on to play at the collegiate level as a catcher for Hope International University in Los Angeles. She now teaches mathematics at RHS in addition to her coaching duties.

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Photo courtesy of Cori McDonald

McDonald and Brainard see the clinic as a great way for their high school players to give back to the community and to be seen as role models for younger student athletes.

“They were once those little kids looking up to the older girls. Now that they are the older kids, it is their responsibility to live up to that,” said McDonald.

Besides having the opportunity to work with so many interested young athletes, Brainard said that the highlight of her day was having two previous players, Holly Courtland (Steed) Class of 2000 and Jamie King (McLaughlan) Class of 1996, bring their little girls to the clinic.

“It’s like the circle of life,” she said. “It’s really wonderful to see and be a part of.”

The RHS softball program currently has nine graduates playing on scholarships at the collegiate level. Three members of this year’s team have made verbal commitments to colleges: junior Kailey Hill is set to attend the University of San Diego, junior Amber Davis plans to play for Stony Brook University in New York and senior Julie Ward will take the field for Malone University in Ohio. The 2013 season will begin in March.

   
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