PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMMB) – The Gulf Coast softball team hosted dozens of talented athletes from across the southeast for an Elite Prospect Clinic on Saturday.
High school players from as far as Georgia and Alabama, as well as some who live right down the road from the college, showed out to learn from the team in blue and gold.
“It’s awesome,” North Bay Haven senior pitcher, Alex Wilson said. “I’ve grown up watching Gulf Coast softball games so it’s cool just to be on the field myself playing, it’s awesome.”
The Commodores prospect clinic was a unique opportunity for all involved, and the high school players were able to learn and grow their game, while also being potentially recruited.
“I tell people all the time we have so much talent I don’t have to go that far, I can kind of recruit in my back yard and get some good ball players, Gulf Coast head coach Scot Thomas said. “So, it’s just a great time for fastpitch softball, and especially here in the Panhandle.”
Some of the players in attendance Saturday are just getting started in their high school careers, while others are coming into their senior season, and moving their focus to the future.
“I wasn’t sure about college softball until maybe a year and a half ago,” Wilson said. “But now I’ve decided that that is really what I want to do, and so this is really helping me out a lot, especially since I don’t have to travel four hours for a showcase, it’s right here in my hometown.”
Many members of the Commodore softball team were instructors and leaders at the single-day camp, and Arnold senior Catcher Malena Bearden said they set the tone for what high-level play looks like.
“Just playing at a college and being here where college players are, you kind of look up to them,” Bearden said. “So, it’s kind of exciting to play with them or practice with them or be seen them.”
The clinic was a great way to kick start the ‘Dores fall season, a time of year that can sometimes be undermined, but they’re expecting all eyes to be watching a couple of months from now, as Coach Thomas has scheduled a home match with one of the top programs in the country.
“Florida State comes in here and plays us October the sixteenth,” Thomas said. “And we want to do that as a community event, there’s a lot of Seminole fans around here, and to have a team that just went to the College World Series to come in here and play on our ball field, that’s a pretty special deal.”
The Commodores softball team will open their fall ball season with a home game on September 18, against Tallahassee Powermill.