June 8, 2009
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The mission on the fields of swinging bats was pretty much universal for the 50-plus girls enjoying the sun and the instruction at Lobo coach Ty Singleton's Lobo Softball Camp on Monday: Get Better.
Just about everywhere you looked at Lobo Field there was a young face showing intense determination and concentration in the no-so-gentle art of putting bat on ball. There were thumps everywhere as the young players listened to the sound advice and made louder sounds with their bats.
"I like the hitting the best," said Sydney Muniz, 8. "And the running. I'm here to get better at softball, but it's a lot of fun, too."
Muniz plays for Thunderbird Little League. Haley Hanson is a Cibola Cougar. The sophomore-to-be and all future Cougar varsity players have some big shoes to fill at Cibola.
The Cougars are the three-time defending Class 5A state champions, but lose their ace pitcher Missy Martinez and a handful of other Cougars, who helped Cibola roar to those crowns.
Hanson knows the key to a fourth Cibola title: Working hard and getting better. And will Cibola win the 5A title in 2010? "Probably," said Hanson, who is in her second full-time season of softball.
"I was into horses when I was little and that's what I used to do; ride horses," she said. "I watched my dad play softball and it looked like a lot of fun. I wanted to try it.
"I need to get better because last season was really my first year of playing softball. I like the camp. I like the way they explain stuff and they give us really good drills."
The Cougars nipped La Cueva High 2-1 in nine innings in the 5A tourney in Las Cruces. Jessica Hacker, a La Cueva senior-to-be, is at the camp to maybe help the Bears reverse that score in 2010.
"I'm here to improve the little things," said Hacker. "I think I need to improve my weight transfer in hitting. In fielding, I need to get my butt down. Well, the glove, too. The glove is important," said Hacker, flashing a quick smile.
The Lobo Skills Camp began on Monday and will conclude Wednesday. Coach Singleton said the camp was full on the first day of registration.
The Lobo Elite Camp, for campers ranging in ages from 14-21, will be held at Lobo Field from July 7-9. The camp is designed to showcase talent and develop overall skills to a very competitive level. Intense individual coaching and drills will be taught as well as the fundamentals.
Singleton also will hold a camp in Kelso, Washington. This marks the first time in Lobo softball history that UNM has held a camp out of state. The camp runs July 13-15 for ages 14-21 and will be held at the Tam O'Shantee Park in Kelso.
For more information about Lobo softball camps, call Kristin Singleton at (505) 899-3313 or the Lobo softball office at (505) 925-5844.
"One of the things I like best about camp is you get a field full of athletes who are enthusiastic about the sport and enthusiastic to be here," said Singleton. "They love the sport and they are here to learn about the game.
"It's fun for us coaches because we are emphasizing the fundamentals and college girls have heard this stuff hundreds of times. We have girls here who are looking at all this stuff with fresh eyes. It might be the first time they have heard some of this stuff.
"Everyone is out here working hard, but it's not a competitive atmosphere. It's a get-better environment designed to teach things and that makes it a lot of fun for everyone."