When Richmond Hill Recreation Association softball coach Andy Jennings saw his 12U Braves team win the league championship in 2007, he was inspired to step it up a notch and give his players another outlet in which to develop.
Later that year, he called his players and found that they too shared in the excitement for his vision to create a 14U Richmond Hill travel softball team. Thus were the beginning stages for Heavy Metal.
"We came up with the name of the team while playing Guitar Hero at home one night," Jennings said. "I made the final decision to do this in early January, then got to work developing a logo, designing uniforms, securing sponsors, locating a tournament league, ordering equipment, etc. It’s been a tremendous amount of work, but a lot of fun too."
Heavy Metal just finished up their very first year, and Jennings said they are just getting started. Even with the formation of the Coastal Power travel teams, which started the same time as Jennings, he said there is tons of potential for a young travel softball team to enhance the area athletic scene.
Heavy Metal wrapped up play in July. Jennings said he is very proud of the effort and the level of improvement within his team.
"I witnessed some vast improvement," Jennings said. "We took some lumps early on, but have also had some great moments along the way."
Their last outing was as participants in last month’s WFC (World Fastpitch Connection) World Series event.
"We lost the last game on a walk-off situation at the end. That was kind of a letdown, but, at the same time, it was the best game we have played. There has been a lot of growth this year on Heavy Metal. That includes me as a coach. It’s been a great season and I wouldn’t trade it for the world."
From here, Heavy Metal is looking toward fall ball. The team is intact with the exception of Kayla Taylor, who has aged out.
Jennings said one of the goals of Heavy Metal is to serve as a farm team for the RHMS and RHHS. That impact could be felt as soon as this year as four of the girls are incoming freshmen on the RHHS team: Taylor, Trisha Jennings, Amy Robben and Sydney Millek.
Also on the team are RHMS players Breezy Anderson, Molly Burnsed, Tiffany Massey, Bryce Seuntjens, Katie Shurling and Hayley Moore. Rounding out the team are Taylor Allen from Pooler, Jeanie Smith from Lyons, Memorial Day School players Kerrigan King and Megan Wallace and rising RHHS freshman soccer player Alexis Davis.
Jennings is looking at expanding Heavy Metal into a 16U team. He is also considering creating a younger bracket.
Tryouts for Heavy Metal are slated for Sept. 14. From there, Jennings is planning several fall tournaments and a "Camp Rock" training camp. For more information, contact Jennings at 547-1973 or email@example.com