By Rick Assad
It’s loads of fun and extremely educational and beginning on Friday, September 29, the Providence High varsity softball team, headed by Manny Travieso, the coach, will oversee its inaugural Diamond Clinic at Olive Park.
The camps are free of charge, will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., run on October 6, 13, and 20 and will teach youngsters softball fundamentals to girls in grades fifth through eighth. Walk-ins are also welcome to join in on the fun.
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Travieso will be assisted by Pioneers assistant and pitching coach Patti Workman, along with many current Providence players.
“The camp offers invaluable benefits to its attendees by providing a firsthand glimpse into the workings of a college-level softball practice. Despite being a high school program, we approach our coaching and training with the same standards as college-level teams,” Travieso said. “Our primary objective is to give aspiring female athletes an opportunity to comprehend the dedication and effort required to ascend to the next level of their athletic journey. Also, we emphasize that softball is not only fun but also a potential gateway to significant opportunities, including scholarships for higher education.”
Travieso continued: “We aim to instill in our campers the understanding that the sport itself can pave the way for greater achievements and prospects in their future,” he offered. “This not only benefits the campers but also reflects positively on Providence High as we nurture and guide our students toward success both on and off the field.”
Because of tough economic times, it’s important that there is no charge for the clinics, according to Travieso.
“These camps hold great importance as they embody Providence High School varsity softball coaches’ and players’ commitment to community service and paying it forward,” he said. “Even though the recent WGA-SAG/AFTRA strike appears to be over, we recognize that parents can still benefit from some financial relief amid ongoing never-ending expenses. By offering these camps for free, we aim to eliminate financial barriers that might otherwise prevent aspiring softball players from pursuing their dreams of high school and college level play.”
The clinic is the brainchild of Providence’s baseball coach, Mando Contreras.
“The inspiration for the camp emerged from Providence High School’s dedication to fostering athletic growth and community engagement. The foundation for this camp was laid by Coach Contreras, who initiated similar baseball camps in previous years,” Travieso said. “Building on this successful model and recognizing the enthusiasm among softball enthusiasts, we decided to extend this opportunity to the softball community by introducing these complimentary camps. It’s a testament to our commitment to nurturing talent, promoting sportsmanship, and providing valuable experiences for young athletes in both baseball and softball.”
Contreras is always ready to assist and feels an obligation to serve the city.
“Diamond clinics’ purpose is to serve the community with an opportunity to reach excellence,” he said. “I do this work with my heart, and this is an opportunity for me to improve the health and quality of life to our community. It’s part of the vision we have at Providence.”
Senior pitcher/first baseman Olyvia Rutter will help out and is excited to lend a hand.
“I participate in the camp because I want to help young girls become leaders on the field, improve their softball mechanics and skills and see them succeed both as a player and a teammate,” she said. “I have so much fun teaching all the young athletes new things because they truly look up to all of the Providence softball girls who are running the camp. They see us as role models, and I want to continue to be a role model to them, someone they can look up to and learn from.”
Rutter, who played a series of games in Cuba this summer, feels there is a need for these clinics.
“It is important to have this camp because young girls need to have access to resources like this camp, to come out and work on and improve their skills,” she said. “Some families do not have the financial ability to pay for private lessons for their children and by Providence offering these free camps/clinics it makes it more accessible to many families. We are offering a great resource to all families and athletes in the area. At the same time, these young girls are making friends and having fun.”
Rutter will be busy once the camps begin and she’s looking forward to them.
“In the camp, my role will be running different stations and drills. I will be assisting my coaches and teammates by helping explain the drills to the athletes,” she said. “When the group reaches me in the pitching group, I will help them with pitching drills that they can work on during the week.”
Grace Workman is a pitcher and first baseman for the Pioneers and will showing the campers the fundamentals of the game.
“We try to teach different softball skills each week. We work on throwing, hitting, fielding, baserunning, and pitching,” she said. “I help with teaching the pitchers and first baseman.”
Workman said it’s important to share the game she loves with others.
“I enjoy teaching the younger generations of softball players the game of softball,” she explained. “I love the sport and want others to love it too”