Sunshine bakes the softball field at the University of West Florida on a Sunday morning in May, and in the words of Navarre High School softball standout Kallie Anderson, the heat is “the toughest part” of playing travel softball in the summer months.
But the sweat and hard work is worth it, even if it means spending weekends playing tournaments in states like Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.
“I have become a much better player,” said Anderson, who is in her second year with the West Florida Elite. “It’s competitive. You get a chance to play against really good teams.”
WFE started in 2003 and has grown significantly over the last decade. There are about 80 girls in the program, which now features 10-, 12- and 14-year-old teams in addition to high school-teams.
Tim Dunsford coaches for WFE and is also the program director. He said there are a couple of reasons for the program’s growth.
“The popularity of the sport is one of the reasons,” Dunsford said. “And by adding teams, we are doing what we need to do to make the game of softball better. We are developing kids at a younger age and so when they get to the recruiting age of 14, 15, 16, they are ready to go.”
Anderson is one of several Navarre athletes playing for WFE. KK Trombley, Hanna Stapleton, Callan Taylor and Emily Cannington are also in the program.
Read more in the June 23 edition of Navarre Press or subscribe online here.