PILOT MOUNTAIN — East Surry’s first Elite Softball Academy showcase a year ago was a success, so Lady Cardinal head coach Randy Marion and the East Surry softball program will have it again this year.
This year’s sessions will take place on back-to-back Saturdays next month, July 14 and 21. The camp is open to all rising first- through eighth-graders anywhere in the region.
A year ago, a remarkable run of success by three of the area’s high school softball teams inspired Marion to offer an expanded camp offering. The Lady Cardinals ended the regular season as the state’s top-ranked 1A team, and North Surry won the Western Piedmont Athletic Conference tournament title against a powerhouse Forbush team. Surry Central had its best team in several years, and all three teams were dotted with college softball prospects.
Against this backdrop, Marion started the Elite Softball Academy, bringing in former college players from not only East Surry, but also other local schools, and the coaching staff at Surry Community College. Two sessions were held in mid-July and a solid turnout was received.
The 2018 season brought more success. All three local schools made the state playoffs, and East repeated as Northwest 1A Conference tournament champs. Marion and the SCC staff are returning to offer the Elite Softball Academy again this summer.
The camp will be held on East Surry’s home field, Palmer Field at the Armfield Civic Center complex in Pilot Mountain. Instruction will take place from 8:30 a.m. to noon both days. The cost is $30 per camper for one session or $50 for both sessions. Campers are encouraged to attend both sessions, but it is not mandatory. Each camper will receive a t-shirt.
Marion, who is 97-33 in five seasons as the East Surry head coach, is the camp director and one of the instructors, along with his assistant coaches Richard Layne and Mark Mauldin, Surry head coach Blaine Bullington, and assistant Nathan Bowman. Mauldin is also a local travel ball coach and Layne is a professional hitting instructor when not coaching at East Surry.
The camp is open to everyone in the area, not just players from the East Surry School district. The objective of the camp is to develop local talent and strong teams throughout the county. Instruction in fielding, hitting, pitching, catching and baserunning is offered. After skills are taught, fun games will be offered for the players to display their new skills. Every player receives the opportunity to learn and grow in the game, and see just how much fun softball can be.
Contact Marion, [email protected] or 336-215-0577 with any questions.
Reach John via Twitter at @johncate73.