Building a strong team starts by forming a solid foundation. 

That’s why Fort Payne softball head coach Nick Owens and the many softball coaches in the Fort Payne City Schools system want to teach players the basics of the sport as early as possible with the Wildcat Softball Camp.

With 68 girls showing up on the rainy second day of the three-day youth skills development clinic at Fort Payne High School, the varsity softball program that competed in the AHSAA Class 6A North Regional this season has a lot to look forward to.

“Our coaching staff, current players and former players all understand the importance of having a solid foundation. That’s why we are at this camp,” said Owens, who has led the building of Fort Payne’s softball program for six years. “We know that these young girls are the next building blocks and are here to help continue building this program.”

The camp was open to girls ages 6-13 and was directed by Owens and his staff. Coaches included Paul Ellis, Rachel Walker, RiLee Street, Eric Rogers and senior player Taylor Camp, who helped the Wildcats appear in the 2021 postseason and finish with a 31-15 overall record. 

The goals of the camp included teaching fundamental softball skills through drills and competition, encouraging a positive attitude, strong work ethic and sportsmanship, as well as giving athletes an opportunity to meet the softball coaches and athletes who impact Fort Payne.

On Wednesday morning, campers dealt with some rain moving across DeKalb County. As half of the girls went into the indoor facility, the other half stayed on the softball field and participated in some basic skill and agility drills.

“It’s exciting for me to see this many girls eager to get better at softball rain or shine,” Owens said. “It shows that this program is moving in the right direction and has a bright future.” 

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