PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WMBB) – Two Panhandle native college softball players were passing their skills to younger athletes through a hitting clinic at Arnold High School on Tuesday.
Arnold alum and Rollins College senior shortstop Ashely Troutman, as well as Sneads alum and Florida State redshirt sophomore catcher Micaela Edenfield, teamed up with Arnold head softball coach Rick Green for the clinic.
Edenfield was one of the finalists for NCAA’s freshman of the year this spring and said getting to come to teach younger girls in the Panhandle is one of her favorite things to do.
“This is awesome, I’ve always been about giving back to the girls that are younger than me because I was once in their shoes too,” Edenfield said. “So, just being able to give back and give my knowledge to them and allow them to learn from me and hopefully they can learn to be even better than me and take my spot.”
Over a dozen middle school and high school girls from Bay, Calhoun, Liberty, Jackson and Gulf County attended the camp.
Troutman said that softball has plenty of room to grow in the Panhandle, and she wants to be a big part of that growth.
“With every single one of these girls, I see the light in their eyes, and also the confusion, because this stuff is really scary,” Troutman said. “Especially when you don’t have all the instruction around here, especially in the Panhandle, softball is growing, but it’s not as big as it can be and it will be.”
Only eight percent of high school softball players make it to the collegiate level nationally, and less than two percent go division one, but Edenfield and Troutman hope they can offer the tools and confidence to make those numbers in Northwest Florida grow.
“Everyone wants to be a collegiate player and they don’t realize how much work it takes,” Edenfield said. “These girls definitely understand and they’re wanting to be here and they’re wanting to learn.”
“To be out here and try to instill that confidence in these girls, that’s just what means the most to me,” Troutman said. “Because that’s what I would have wanted when I was a little girl.”
If you missed out on the hitting clinic, Coach Green will be holding another one at Arnold High School in a few weeks toward the end of July.