Wednesday, April 23, 2014
What is the key to building a successful sports program?
Ask any coach this question and they’ll give the same answer:
Teach them young.
Berkeley Lady Stags softball coach Boogie Grooms has voiced the same mantra in regard to the building of a long term successful girls’ softball program at BHS.
For Grooms, in his second year heading the Lady Stags, it’s about getting middle school softball players exposed to the Lady Stags softball way.
“We have seventh and eighth grade girls good enough to play varsity sports at just 12 and 13 years of age,” he said. “By the time a lot of these girls reach high school, if we haven’t taught them how we play softball here and what we expect, it’s almost too late.”
This year for the first time in the school’s history the Lady Stags softball program was able to field a B-team, a third tier team beneath varsity and JV with a roster filled with middle school aged players.
Riley McKelvey, a longtime Lady Stags assistant coach, heads up the B-team.
“With the success of the varsity and JV softball program that we had last year and the ongoing success this year, it really shows what direction everybody wants this program to be headed in,” McKelvey said. “This new team wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Principal Steven Steele, Athletic Director Jeff Cruce, and head softball coach Boogie Grooms.”
According to McKelvey, the B-team fielded 19 players on its roster to start the program this year, which consist of middle school seventh and eight graders.
“We’ve scheduled a four team schedule that plays four-game tournaments at each school sights per weekend,” he said.
The four teams are Berkeley, Timberland, Hanahan, and Stratford.
“We hope that this year’s B-team startup program will encourage other schools to participate next year.”
The Lady Stags closed out the season on April 12 at Stratford, playing both Stratford and Hanahan, splitting with a win over the B-Knights and a loss to the B-Hawks to finish the season with a 3-3-2 record.
“We played some good softball teams in the area,” McKelvey said. “Timberland, Stratford and Hanahan all have very deep softball programs.”
Berkeley’s squared off with Timberland for its season opener on March 15. The B-Stags defeated Stratford and Timberland.
On March 22, the B-Stags hosted the second tournament and dropped two games to Hanahan and Timberland, putting their record for the season at 2-2.
On April 5, the B-Stags traveled to Hanahan for the third tournament of the season where games with Hanahan and Timberland ended in ties due to time limit restrictions, which put their record at 2-2-2.
“This has really been an exciting season for myself, assistant coach David Brabham, the volunteer coaches, the B-team parents and especially to the Lady Stags program,” McKelvey said. “The program will have a number of B-team players from this year squad to keep an eye on for the future.”
The 2014 Berkeley Lady Stags B-Team consists of Maddysn Fernett, McKenna Anderson, Morgan Grady, Haylee Wilkerson, Savannah Dean, Vanessa Coolen, Olivia Free, MacKenzie Lambert, Raelee Brabham, Rilee Driggers, Ariel Hurley, Julie Crosby, Kaylee Baggott, Paris Beaufort, Evie Wilson, Kiyla Morris, Savannah Whetzel, Cheyenne Sanders and Kaylie Schindledecker.