Softball players showed up and showed out at the Great Alaska Showcase
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Normally, an Alaskan athlete would have to go out of state to meet with college coaches, but the Great Alaska Showcase turns that around and has the coaches come to Alaska.
165 softball players from all over Alaska, including Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, Delta, The Mat-Su, Fairbanks, and Anchorage, converged at Loretta French Fields in Chugiak for three days of high-level coaching and recruiting. 24 different college coaches from D1, D2, D3, Junior Colleges, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics coaches came to Alaska for the camp, which helps save Alaskan athletes the money it would cost to travel out of state.
“It’s very expensive for these kids to travel out of state and get this type of individual instruction and or the recruiting opportunity, So this is a great cost saver for our community,” said Dan Taxinger, Arctic Heat Softball.
The coaching goes a long way not only with the players that are aged 10-18 but also with the local coaches who attend the camp. On the second day, the college coaches held a coaches clinic where they coached the coaches.
“We can tell that the college coaches being here and working with players have inspired the club coaches to take on more learning and more instruction, and the talent level has gone up in a big way,” said Alyson Carter of Triple Crown Fastpitch.
The camp also offers the college coaches a chance to return to their roots. Instead of fine-tuning a college player’s swing or pitch release during the camp, they teach the fundamentals to kids as young as 10-years-old.
“It brings you back to the heart of coaching, and this is what it’s all about helping somebody be better at the game of softball but also to be better people” said the Head Softball Coach at Franklin University, Andy Klaus.
This is the third time the camp has been run. It was held in 2018 and 2019 but took a break due to the pandemic. The first year they had about 50 athletes, and this year they had 165; Taxinger says that if the growth continues, they hope that this camp can be something that runs on an annual base.
“I think that there are different things that Alaska students can bring to my program and my team that I will never be able to get anywhere else,” Carnegie Mellon University Softball Coach Monica Harrison continued, “So yeah, I want to get an Alaska kid on my roster I’m trying my hardest”
The camp proves that the sport of softball is not only one of the fastest growing sports in the nation but also in Alaska.
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