BY BENJAMIN TOCKER
[media-credit name="Photo by Melinda Rosado " align="aligncenter" width="600"]
Sophia Marino, returning to the dugout, high-fived fellow Buckeye Annalisa Valdivia, as she headed to the plate, where Morgan Starling of the Red Storm was catching. The game was at the Battery Park City ball fields last Friday evening. The players, who are in the Downtown Little League, will be attending P3 softball camp this summer.
| One year since launching a set of girls softball programs at Pier 40, attendance for P3’s all-girl softball activities is on the rise again.
With six sets of one-week softball camps on the horizon, P3 is providing a crucial outlet for girls to remain involved in organized softball. For many of these girls, the new programs would be their only way to remain playing meaningfully competitive softball.
Now in their 12th year, Pier 40’s P3 baseball programs have had co-ed leagues in the past, but they typically did not have the same staying power with girls as they did with boys.
In describing the spike in interest of the girls summer softball camp at the West Houston St. pier, Scott Morrison uses an idiom immediately recognized by many sports fans: “If you build it, they will come.”
Indeed, enrollment has already doubled for this year’s summer programs, with coaches on hand ready to teach the finer details of the game in an effort to inspire an elevated level of play.
Morrison and his daughters are gearing up for a summer of softball in which, as he put it: “Nobody’s just sitting down counting blades of grass — everybody’s paying attention.”
The games will be in the fast-pitch model, with more attention paid to details like base stealing, base running and sacrifices, and a greater focus on “small ball,” where every aspect of the game is stressed.
Morrison is one of many parents who appreciate the effort that the program at Pier 40 has put into the revitalization of girls softball. Besides teaching them the fundamentals and skills of softball, the upcoming summer camps will provide the girls with team-building experiences and a chance to make many new friends. Morrison cited extensive research published by Forbes that connects corporate success and team sports.
Renae Beauchman, a former softball star at Long Island University who will lead the camp, knows a thing or two about team sports. Beauchman started playing softball at age 14 and was on a traveling team before going to L.I.U. on a softball scholarship.
This is Beauchman’s first year coaching at Pier 40 after she led a similar camp in her native California. She’s most excited for the girls to start experiencing the same teammate bonding that she knew from several years of traveling softball teams.
“The camaraderie between having an all-girls team is just so much different than that of a co-ed team,” she said.
While stressing the importance of team play, Beauchman is undoubtedly excited herself to be in the game.
“For me, this is like being on a team again,” she said.
Registration is now open for P3’s Pier 40 girls softball camps, which run from July 9 to Aug. 31. Visit Pier40.org or call 212-989-3764 for more details.