Helena prepares future Huskies with annual softball camp

Published 1:06 pm Thursday, August 3, 2023

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By ANDREW SIMONSON | Sports Editor

HELENA – The Helena Huskies softball team welcomed 57 campers into Helena High School to help prepare the future of the program at their annual softball camp from July 26-28.

The future has been an ongoing theme for Helena softball lately, as this was coach Mark Sanders’ first camp since he took the helm of the varsity program.

“I was exceptionally pleased with the turnout and the effort of the coaches and the players,” Sanders said. “I felt like that we got a lot out of it as far as fundamentals and for many, just the introduction into the game.”

Sanders and the Helena coaches and players taught basic softball skills to the campers, including hitting, bunting, infield play and outfield play through drills and fun games.

Sanders was very pleased with the coaches he brought on who supported him throughout the camp. He had two of his assistants who also played college softball help teach campers: Troy alum Maddie Porter and Samford alum Janet Griffith. He also brought in veteran college coach Bruce Howland.

In addition, four Helena alumni returned to campus to help with the camp, including Lexie Bullock, Katie Lively, Alex Erwin and Sara Ezekiel. Since they are all currently playing college softball, Sanders said their insights were very valuable.”

“They were able to really help give us a unique perspective on what’s going on in the game today,” Sanders said.

On top of all of the coaches and former players, they were joined by 40 current Helena varsity and middle school softball players who taught skills to the campers and got to hang out with them.

Because the camp had over 40 coaches and players teaching 57 campers, the campers got to have personal instruction throughout the camp. They also got to grow closer to the coaches and players that they spent time with.

Sanders said the opportunity for personal connection made the camp truly special.

“It really helped having that one-on-one interaction,” Sanders said. “If it had just been us four high school coaches and four current players in college, that would have been tough to really one-on-one have interaction and work on drills with each kid, but because we had 40 middle school and high school players help work it, every kid at camp had some one-on-one interaction with a pretty talented player, knowledgeable player.”

Overall, Sanders said the campers had a great time. Everyone had a great introduction to softball from coaches and players who know the game and how to teach it, and the campers also got to meet the Helena softball players that they look up to and come out to support during the season at both Helena High School and Helena Middle School.

“My favorite part was seeing the girls have a good time, enjoy learning the game of softball and how they looked up to the coaches and how they looked up to the current players in college and the middle school and high school players, how they interacted with them and just how they cared for each other,” Sanders said. “There was a lot of care and concern among the campers, how they really cared about each other.”