Huge turnout at free softball camp

By Andrew Alexander

 Huge turnout at free softball camp

Director of the Adamsville Parks and Recreation Department Bubba Martin welcomes nearly 100 campers to the free softball camp at Buford Pusser Memorial Park in Adamsville last week. Staff Photo by Andrew Alexander

Adamsville Parks and Recreation, led by Director Bubba Martin, partnered with 32 local businesses to put on a free, two-day softball camp for 5 to 12-year-old girls at Buford Pusser Memorial Park in Adamsville July 26 and 27.

According to Martin, the first night of camp saw 86 eager softball players, and the second saw 92.

I was expecting around 50 kids... maybe 65 on the last night,” said Martin. “I wasn’t prepared for that many kids, but we made some adjustments and it all worked out.”

Martin, with the help of local coaches and current collegiate and high school softball players, instructed campers on the finer points of batting, pitching, fielding, and base running.

The girls were given frequent water breaks, according to Martin, because of the heat, and added the last night’s instruction included sliding practice which took place on a make-shift slip-n-slide in center-field that he claimed was a camp favorite.

“All the thanks goes out to sponsors and help of the coaches,” said Martin. “It was the most enjoyable thing I’ve ever been apart of. I’m just grateful for the opportunity.”

Martin said his inspiration for the camp came from a humbling moment after one of his daughter’s softball games when he overheard two girls discussing a softball camp that one of them could not afford to attend.

Martin, who has three daughters and has been coaching softball in the area for 15 years said, “For two weeks it’s all I could think about. The only thing I’m ashamed of is that I should have done this years ago.”

According to Martin, the parents were extremely grateful for the instruction that was made available to their children, and the kids themselves had a great time.

The success of the camp has already attracted sponsors for next year, according to Martin, and the plans for that camp are already in the works.

“I see it growing and I’m preparing for next year already,” said Martin. “Next year it might even double.”

Martin is even considering joining forces with Sybil Dancer, Parks and Recreation Director in Selmer, and Larry Arendall of Savannah’s Parks and Recreation Department to expand the outreach of the free softball camp.

“If we all pull together,” said Martin, “there’s no telling how many kids we can help.”

Each girl present at the camp received a  free t-shirt listing all 32 sponsors.

Sponsors include Dr. Hoover DDS, Central Bank, Prime Care, Aqua Glass, Community South Bank, Modern Woodman of America, Billy Holmes Body Shop, Adamsville Farmers and Merchants Bank, Randal Deaton DDS, Bella Salon, Salon Elite, Whitley Constructions, East Main Pharmacy, Hardin County Bank, First Baptist Church of Adamsville, FaithPointe Church, Adamsville Methodist Church, First Christian Church of Adamsville, Adamsville Church of Christ, Butler Trucking, Mollie and Tillie Cima, Sunrise Grill and Market, Institution of Hair Design, Banana Box, Sawmeal Restaurant, Miss Reba’s Restaurant, MaMa Fia’s Restaurant, Tan World, Hollingsworth Pit Stop, State Farm Insurance, Pro Rehab, and Shonda’s Photos.

Coaches and athletes that assisted in the free softball camp include Kevin Durbin, Blane Hutton, Dennis Gladish, Stacy Jaggars, Randy Martin, Jason Shelby, Steve King, Halley Beckham, Kasey Martin, Brittany Lambert, Sarah Martin, Taylor Hutton, Ashley Moore, Autumn King, and Shelby Martin.