Groups combine to teach fastpitch

By Kevin Wilson

It’s hard enough making the transition into high school athletics. A few groups are trying to make sure local softball players don’t have to adjust to a whole new sports on top of that.
The city softball park played host this week to a fastpitch softball clinic, a joint effort through the softball programs of Eastern New Mexico University, Portales High School, and members of the Portales Girls Softball League.
The free clinic started Monday, with ENMU coach Kevin Blaskowski teaching the participants about pitching and throwing.
Robbie Crowley, the Portales High softball coach, said each night dealt with a different aspect of the game (i.e. Thursday night covered baserunning.)
The clinic started shortly after the end of the PGSL season. The PGSL is a slowpitch league, While slowpitch and fastpitch have nearly all of the same rules, nearly any softball coach or player will acknowledge that the pitching makes slowpitch and fastpitch two distinct sports.
The differences can be overcome pretty easily, but Crowley felt that having a jump on the season never hurts.
“When I get these kids as eighth-graders, we’re starting from the basics,” Crowley said. “Hopefully by going through these clinics and continuing it every year, we won’t have to start with those basics.”
A few Zia softball players who were around for the summer were more than willing to help. Stacey Gonzales and Tracy Jordan of the Zia squad were doing work as softball umpires, and they had some idle time with a few weeks left before the fall semester.
“Right now, I think they haven’t had very much fast-pitch experience,” said Jordan, an outfielder entering her sophomore year. “With this, they learn the basics of fast-pitch. We want to make sure they are ready to go to the next level.”
Lee Quick, the PGSL director, said that the girls from the camp will be able to form three teams for competition in upcoming tournaments across New Mexico and the West Texas area.