After having just finished its first year, the Richmond Hill-based Coastal Power travel softball program has already grown leaps and bounds.
The brand new group just finished its inaugural season with 8U, 10U and 12U teams. This is a first for the Richmond Hill area for travel fast pitch softball in this age group. Seven Coastal Power teams are already in the works for the following age groups: 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16.
Coastal Power Director Chad Newcomer created the league last year when he moved to Richmond Hill from Greensboro, North Carolina. Newcomer had similar success with a travel league program he started out there. He said the Coastal Power program has far exceeded his wildest expectations for it to be so young.
"My vision was to create a travel program with much more than a one-year life span," Newcomer said. "I’m attempting to maximize the athletic potential of the girls in this area by keeping them together. Ultimately, the beneficiaries of all this hard work will be the middle and high school softball teams. Instead of creating a team on that level, we could potentially have a well-seasoned group hit the ground running at those levels. If they start at age 8 or 9, at 80 travel games a year, you’re looking at having 300-plus games behind these girls before they step on the middle school field."
Newcomer said all the effective high school softball teams have an effective travel program behind them, and he hopes to create that in Richmond Hill with Coastal Power.
"In Carolina, we had established teams for every age bracket within three years," Newcomer said. "I see that happening here – it’s already started to happen. It’s a very realistic goal."
Newcomer said tryouts are ongoing now, but a player can potentially join up with Coastal Power at any point in time. He said the program is on the lookout for 10 and 12-year-old players, and there are several other holes to fill as well.
"This is a year-round program," Newcomer said, "We do play in the fall, but not as aggressively as spring and summer. Wherever Coastal Power plays, we invade a complex. Everywhere you look, you see orange and maroon. It’s great."
Newcomer, who also coaches the 10U team, said he is overwhelmed by the improvement he has observed from the girls in each of this year’s three age brackets.
"We started with girls who had never stepped foot on a travel field who are now top notch competitors," he said. "To be able to actually compete in our first year and not get run ruled is amazing to me. They have mastered the fundamentals and have played competitively in every tournament. It gives me goosebumps when I reflect back at some of the girls who did not have self confidence on the field and see those same kids now as confident young women. I reflect more on that than the athletic accomplishments."
"There is not one kid on Coastal Power that didn’t have a metamorphosis this year," Newcomer continued. "When we started, some of the girls couldn’t even pitch and catch and now they’re driving the ball. We definitely have some above average athletes on our hands and I see them taking this program in the right direction. There’s no stopping them in 2009."
Recently, Coastal Power was featured at Grayson Stadium as the Sand Gnat players invited them on the field and signed autographs for them. 12U CP coach Steve Norse threw out the first pitch, and the kids were invited back onto the field before the seventh inning to sing ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame’ in front of the capacity crowd.
Coastal Power tryouts will be held for ages 9-12 on Aug. 9 and 10. Ages 13-16 tryouts will be held immediately following the completion of school ball. For more information on Coastal Power, contact Newcomer at 247-1948 or email@example.com.