Eclectic softball teams prep for DistrictPublished 1:00pm Friday, June 14, 2013
After the first weekend of competition on the road to the ASA state tournament, Eclectic’s Rich Ryals is proud of the way his teams competed.
“They all played hard,” said Ryals. “We came up short, but it’s tough when you are running up against big communities like Wetumpka and Prattville. I think we did a good job of holding our own.”
This weekend, at the District 5 tournament in Prattville, Ryals has challenged his coaches and all-stars teams to bring the fight the larger opponents.
“We came close to beating Wetumpka,” said Brittney Davis, coach of the 12U Eclectic All-Stars. “The girls know what they are up against.”
Ryals pointed out that for the past three years the state champions have come from this district.
“If we can be competitive with Prattville and Wetumpka, we can be competitive at state,” he said. “But we’ve got to be competitive this weekend. There’s a lot of particulars outside of just playing softball to go to Mobile next weekend. We have a lot riding on what we do this weekend.”
With the way ASA tournaments are structured, the sub-district and district rounds serve as tune-ups for the elimination-based state tournament.
As of now, according to Ryals, Eclectic’s 8U and 18U squads are going to Prattville. Davis’ 12U squad has also punched its ticket and will play against Wetumpka Friday night at 7:30.
“Friday’s games were really a run-through for Saturday and for this weekend,” said Davis. “A majority of the girls on my team have never played all-stars before, and they haven’t played in this heat before either. But I think they did well for the competition we faced.”
As prep for this weekend Davis has had her girls working on fielding and batting.
“The 10U and 12U age groups rely on pitching and the development thereof,” said Ryals. “Maci Curlee (10U) has been working hard and really throws it hard. Akerria Hardin and Alexis Brown (both 12U) have led the charge there. They are coming along and they are really going to be there when they get to that next level.”
For Ryals and the EYBO league, all-stars it isn’t so much about wins and losses as it is getting the youngsters in their charge ready to play at the next level.
“When they go up to play junior varsity, they are going to be ready,” said Ryals. “That’s the goal of Aaron Park. We want to hand Coach (Wilbur) Terrell and Coach (Wendell) Jackson able-handed ball players that have the fundamentals and understand how to compete.”
Beyond that, it’s about making memories.
“It’s about bringing the community together and making the kids feel that they are part of something bigger than themselves,” said Ryals. “The goal is to excel, but there is more to it. These kids are making memories that won’t ever be taken away.”