Lovie Haley is a 15-year-old freshman varsity player at Matanzas (Palm Coast, Florida) High and has been playing Gold level travel ball since she was 10 years old. She has played in the prestigious Colorado Sparkler Showcase and compiled a .522 batting average and a .724 on base percentage. Last fall, competed in the USA Elite Select 30 Camp at LSU in Louisiana making the Top 30 Sunday teams. She is a 4.5 GPA student and has been accepted into Daytona State College as a dual enrollment student and started her first college class this year as a high school freshman.
Lovie recently wrote to Extra Inning Softball explaining two things she’s doing to build up the sport and challenges all those passionate about fastpitch to come up with ways to make softball an even bigger and better sport… here are her thoughts:
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO “GROW THE GAME” IN 2018?
Softball is a game we all love, so the question is: What are we all doing within our power to take action and help with growing the game?
Over the past three years, one of the things I’ve been able to do was become a contributor to the Florida Fastpitch Forum Facebook page. I started contributing to the social media Florida Fastpitch Forum sites on Facebook and Instagram approximately three years ago at age 12.
At the time, the Facebook page had roughly 600 members and I’ve been able to contribute to the page daily with content that hopefully softball folks would love. Today, the page has almost 10,000 members!
On the page, I make softball-related contributions to help keep the page rolling and alive. Being a softball prospect myself, I know how hard that softball athletes work to better their game, keep up good grades, and be great teammates so on the Florida Fastpitch Forum social media sites, fastpitch girls from Florida get recognized for what they do.
With 10,000 followers that include college coaches and players, Florida softball coaches, parents, and fellow athletes, the fans get to follow along daily to see that Florida girls are out there working hard!
It is my goal to feature players from all over the state of Florida—from the Panhandle to Key West—and it is always my intent to provide fun, creative, informative, positive posts about girls in Florida softball despite my being the youngest contributor to the page.
Our Florida Fastpitch Forum team of editors has also created a Florida Fastpitch Forum Player search page on Facebook where we now have 2,600+ members in the group.
This is a place where travel softball coaches, parents, and players in Florida can all meet up in one spot on social media to, among other things, look for a new team or for new players in Florida.
One of the most exciting contributions that I have made to the Florida Fastpitch Forum has been an interview that I did with legendary pitcher Cat Osterman. Another interview that I worked on was with the Gator Girls including Bailey Castro, Taylore Fuller, Hannah Rogers, and Lauren Haeger.
In December, I played softball in the Faster2First softball showcase camp at Historic Dodgertown in Vero Beach and while at the event I had the opportunity to interview National Pro Fastpitch (NPF) players Alex Powers and Angel Bunner, both on the USSSA Pride and asked them what “growing the game” means to them.
Both pro athletes said how important it is to them to move the sport forward for future generations of softball girls that will come after them. I asked them what their fans could do in 2018 to help grow the game of softball and help to support NPF.
Alex and Angel gave the following suggestions as to what we softball fans can do in 2018:
1. Buy a ticket to attend an NPF game this year.
2. Follow your favorite NPF team and players on social media.
3. Find out when the NPF teams and players will be doing meet-and-greets
and come out to meet the players in person.
4. Organize an NPF game night out with your softball friends and come support your favorite NPF team as a group.
I also asked Alex and Angel, “If you were the President of Softball in the United States, what would you do to improve the sport”?
Both shared the same thought: they would want to help find ways for the best softball talent in the United States compete in the National Pro Fastpitch league as well as be part of Team USA.
These Pride players have teammates who just made the USA National team and will look to find ways to successfully manage being a part of both programs.
In closing, I will continue to work hard to find new ways to do my part in helping to grow the game of softball that I love so much.
I made an oath to follow the suggestions of Alex and Angel to support them and the NPF even more this year. Last summer, I attended their season-ending awards banquet in Louisiana while I was at Select 30 Camp at LSU and attended some of their games.
This year I hope we all can find our own ways to GROW THE GAME!