Mercer Softball has made a mission to be seen and involved in the Macon community. In aim to do so, team members have devoted themselves to helping youth in the Macon community engage in athletics, especially softball. This fall, they reached out to a local middle school to help students with the fundamentals of the game.
Eight of Mercer’s players visited Appling Middle School in Macon to help the team with skill development and team building. In preparation for Appling’s softball season, the Mercer team worked extensively to help Appling’s program further develop.
Natalie Shiver, junior catcher for Mercer, was able to be a part of this experience and really enjoyed the impact that she was able to make on the girls whom she helped.
“We went to Appling Middle School and worked with their softball team. Most of the girls have never played softball before, so we helped teach them the fundamentals of the game,” Shiver said. “We broke things down simply and showed them a throwing progression as well as correct footwork in the infield and outfield and the basics of hitting.”
With most of Appling’s team never having played before, Mercer Softball was able to have an important role in shaping their team. By volunteering and helping these 11-14 year old girls better understand the game, Mercer’s softball team was able to form a lasting relationship with the Appling Middle School team.
In just two afternoons of working with the team, the Mercer team was able to make a huge impact on the Appling Middle team. Mercer plans to continue to support Appling as itsseason progresses. Mercer’s softball team made plans to attend Appling’s first game of the season; unfortunately, it was cancelled due to rain.
The team was eager to help and was humbled by the opportunity to give back to the Macon community, especially in a way that involved the sport to which they have already dedicated much of their lives.
“It was so inspiring to be able to help these girls in just a little time we were able to teach, mold and encourage these middle school players. It was great to know that we made a positive difference,” Shiver said. “Seeing young girls fall in love with the game for the first time reminded all of us why we play and love the game so much ourselves.”
The Mercer team has decided to watch Appling in its upcoming season when they can, and in return, the Appling team will support Mercer in its upcoming fall games. The Appling Middle School team is most excited to watch Mercer in November when it plays the USSSA Pride, a profession fast-pitch team.
“As a team, it made us feel good to be able to give back to the community and help girls learn how to play softball,” Shiver said. “They were very open to our coaching and seemed to really enjoy our instruction. We hope to continue to work with these girls and watch them grow as both athletes and people.”