About 40 aspiring players turned out Friday afternoon for the opening session of the Play Ball Girls Fast-pitch Softball Camp.
On hand to tutor the girls under cloudy skies were Lady Longhorn softball coach Will Dunman, Rim Country Middle School seventh-grade coach Vic Caballero and DeWight Byron of Mesa College.
Former Lady Horn pitcher Rachel Ray assisted the coaches. Only days before camp, Ray accepted a full-ride scholarship to play for Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, La.
In the field of campers, ages 10 to 18, were many of the players Dunman will count on to help lead Payson High School to a fourth consecutive state tournament appearance next season.
The Rim Country Middle School teams, which began White Mountain League season yesterday (Monday) also was well represented.
Following Friday's session which wrapped up about 6:30 p.m., the campers returned to Payson High School field Saturday morning for more instruction in hitting, pitching, fielding, throwing and game strategy.
For Caballero, a former Show Low High School coach, the camp was the opportunity to pick up valuable tips from Byron.
At Mesa, Byron has led the Lady Thunderbirds to six consecutive playoff appearances. In 2000, he was the Arizona Community College Athletic Association Coach of the Year.