After a tough loss to end the season, the Barbers Hill softball program moved into the future this summer as it played host to its annual camp.
Working with first-through ninth-graders, head coach Aaron Fuller was able to get away from last season’s successes and disappointment while offering a chance for kids to have a good time learning softball.
“For the first-and second-graders we want the girls to have fun learning and playing the game of softball,” Fuller said. “For the third-through-fifth graders we also want them to have fun, but there’s a little more depth to the drills and techniques we teach them. They’re beginning to understand the game, so we’re trying to give them more information to improve their skills.
“For the sixth through ninth-graders, the focus is to get those girls familiar with our program here at Barbers Hill and how we do things. These girls know they’re going to be playing softball in high school, so we work on the skills and drills that we’ll be doing daily here at the high school. This camp also gives our coaching staff an opportunity to evaluate our incoming talent.”
Over 90 kids showed up this year, compared to 65 last spring and before that the numbers hovered in the 50s.
“Winning definitely helps the younger girls be excited about wanting to play softball,” Fuller said.
Barbers Hill finished 39-5 this year and lost the Region 3 Final in three games against eventual Class 5A champions Angleton.
“Girls here grow up dreaming of their opportunity to play softball for Barbers Hill,” Fuller said. “I don’t think our girls feel pressure to win each year. Winning is an expectation, and it happens with hard work that begins at a young age. Our girls put in years of hard work before they get to our program, so yes, they embrace the idea of carrying the mantle.”
It also doesn’t hurt that the program seems set up for the longer haul with the kids coming through Fuller’s camps and being involved in the program.
“We’ve got lots of good, young, talented players here in Mont Belvieu,” Fuller said. “These girls grow up watching their favorite players excel here at Barbers Hill and now on TV. These girls enjoy putting in the work and they enjoy playing the game. The game is advancing in the fact that speed and strength and more important now than ever. Power at the plate and speed on the base paths are becoming more and more crucial in our game.”
For Fuller it has come full circle as a number of his current varsity roster once met their future coach as attendees at the camp.
“Every year we have between six to 10 freshmen girls in our program, and I’d say usually five to eight of those girls we have an opportunity to see at camp,” Fuller said. “Usually the girls who can’t make it to camp are playing out of town for their select teams.”